No, I’m not talking about the rocket experiment my son and I did yesterday, though that was pretty fun in itself (it was part one of two). The one with the balloon hooked to the straw on a string? We were learning about the recoil principle. Today (hopefully it will warm up…) we are going to be learning about chemically propelled rockets. Oh, yes, there will be an experiment :).
No, I am talking about ROW 80. I’m off to a pretty good start. I managed to write for at least an hour per day over the last couple days, and am getting really close to discovering the story I am supposed to write. For those of you not familiar with this concept, it’s a pantsing thing. I just sit there and let the voices in my head say whatever they will, and I simply record it. Well, it’s actually not THAT unstructured. First I do have a general idea. I have a main character, and she has a voice. There is usually some catalyst incident, which may or may not appear in the actual finished story, but which is important to that character’s development as a person, and it is important to discovering what his or her problem is. I will write about that thing, in the character’s voice, until something starts to really take shape. For example, last night, I was continuing to write about when my character was a teen, and about a major decision she made. I can’t give away to much info, but there were things about her family’s values and her values, etc. I wasn’t sure where I was going with it, but it is important to just write everything down and not censor myself at this point. I knew that probably none of it would make it into the final draft, but that’s OK. This work is vital to the real story, the story that will grow from this stuff. Let’s call it manure, because really, that’s what it is :). Then suddenly, a random scene popped into my head, which did not seem related to the previous stuff I was writing at all. That’s OK. I just wrote it all down anyway, even though this character was much older, and seemed to be the opposite of what I going for. The main point of this thing seemed to be the opposite of what I was going for. Then, after writing that for about twenty minutes, it hit me, and everything started falling into place like a puzzle. I’m sorry, I can’t really give too many details away, because a) when I talk about my writing, meaning specifics of a certain story, things go caput, and b) I just don’t know who is reading this, but it would really stink if I let loose too many details and made myself ineligible for certain things. But, this is basically how stories begin for me. I know a lot of other people begin with outlines and character sketches, and I might do that a little later to keep the story organized, but it’s not how I work initially. Which is fine. How boring would the world be if everyone did everything that same? I do envy the people a bit who can sit down, write an outline, fix things that don’t work in the outline itself, and then just steamroll through the first draft, and not need to make very many changes. I’ve tried it that way many times, but all I get is a serious case of writer’s block.
Anyway, I am not going to say, “So now that I have all this done I am just going to write and everything will be great!” I know it’s not. I’m still going to be doing a lot of discovery over the next week or so, if I can keep my momentum up. But I am over one of the biggest hurdles, which is knowing what my story is about.
Hope everyone is having a good week!