It’s still January and I’ve already fallen behind with the blog posts! So much for at least one a week. Still, I’ve been making positive progress, so it’s not all bad.
I finished my first short story of the year, and I’m getting started on my novel. Trying to figure out exactly what my novel is going to be is proving to be a challenge. But I think I’m up to it. It’s hard to tell how much it leans toward science fiction urban fantasy. Are there “powers” at play, or can it be explained by science? And of course, there is the romance element. How strong? Is it the driving force behind the plot?
I think these are the types of things that can drive a writer to have writer’s block. Yes, I can understand someone feeling the pressure to pigeonhole their story into a certain genre before they even get started. If you are a romance writer, and have an agent who represents romance but not SF, if you have strong relationships with romance editors, etc., it’s easy to feel a strong pressure to write the story as a romance. The same with SF, or any other genre. But I have always found that forcing my story to fit into a mould is always a good way for me to get stuck. My characters like to drive the story for me, to an extent, and if I put too many restrictions on them, they clam up and I’m trying to figure out how the heck to get from point a to point b. This can happen even with an outline. I have outlined a plot, and then after I start writing for a time, I realize that everything is flat and predictable–there is no emotion, no visceral reactions from my characters because it’s way too left brained.
What works best for me is to just wing it, to write the story as it comes (after giving a little thought so I know a general direction). Then when I am close to being done with the first draft, I can start my outline, and look at structure and make sure things make sense, that my beginning is not too long or that my middle isn’t sagging. I also have to make sure that things haven’t appeared from nowhere in the middle of the story. That way, when I write the second draft, everything is where it should be.
I probably won’t always be able to write this way; there will be situations where I’ll need a synopsis first, etc. But for now, it’s what works for me :). And if I get too stuck on the novel, I can always work on my next short story.