Abe Table’s seventh story, which is beginning now, has baffled me. The process is what has been so puzzling. I had ideas in the Fall about this 7th story. I laid them out (written on post it notes and spread over the floor). I moved them around and tried to arrange them along a story skeleton. I walked and thought about them. I wrote in journals about them. I discussed them.
But the writing did not come. I was unwilling to start since I wanted to have the story boarded and outlined by the time I began to write and I did not have a final outline.
Then, as is usual for me, the inevitable happened one morning: a scene to start the story showed up in my mind’s eye. Not the scene I had imagined either. It began with dialog about something completely unrelated and off my radar for the story.
And it led right where I wanted for the opening scene. A second writing session had a healthy draft of the scene done. Now, it is opening myriad possibilities, some of which fit the original plan and ideas.
Will it land where I was heading originally? Don’t know.
What I do know is this:
1. The writing process requires patience and thought – Both of those are vital to incubating a story.
2. When a story “opens up,” it may be one of the most thrilling experiences – I wouldn’t trade it. Nor would I trade all the hours writing in my journals and wondering if I can think of the proper flow to make a compelling story.
3. When I’m lost about how to proceed with the big picture, the outline of the whole story, I find joy and even direction in creating a scene – Even if it ends up not being a scene I use, it helps to step into that world and live there a bit.
What have you learned from your writing process?