Friday, 23 December 2005

The long and winding road

Today I am trying to kick-start a story I have not touched in about a month. I’m not sure if I had a ‘block’ on it, but I definitely hit a sticky patch at chapter four.

I think of my story in terms of a journey. I know my destination. I even know my route to some extent, but what I really need to work out now is what is going to take me there. I need to find my mode of transport.

My vehicles are the scenes in each chapter. Which ones am I going to include? What small things and big things are going to happen to my characters to let me show me what they are feeling and thinking at each given moment. Which events are going to push the story in the direction I want it to go? There are so many possibilities.

This is the part of plotting I find the hardest. It often seems like I’m feeling around in the dark with just enough light for the step in front of me. I just have to keep clutching onto my map and make sure I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Eventually I will emerge from the dark wood and find I’m free-wheeling down the hill towards the final chapter.

Since the kids are running around in a pre-Christmas riot, I shall probably hole myself up in my office for an hour or two. Office, hah! I wish! My office is a rather old-fashioned school desk in the corner of my bedroom. It doesn’t even have a computer – I shall be working with pen and notepad. It does, however, have a coaster to put a cup on so I can keep myself pumped full of caffeine, and a window to stare out of while I am waiting for inspiration to strike.

Let’s hope I’m not still there at 2 am in a pool of drool with a woodgrain pattern on my cheek…


Liz Fielding said...

Love the picture, Fiona. I reminds me of the cover on my very old copy of A Room of My Own -- something that you seem to be without at the moment. Never mind the madness of Christmas will pass.

I do think your "road map" analogy is excellent. I have some major scenes in my head which I know will appear in the book I'm writing, but oh, the road is rocky!

Fiona Harper said...

The thing I think most when I look at that picture is how much I hate the yukky brown carpet we inherited with the house, and how much I want to rip it up and sand the boards!

Anonymous said...

"Which events are going to push the story in the direction I want it to go?"

Planning the story events is so difficult. Some of the best stories hardly seem to have any but I can't seem to work out how to write a story with very little external plot AND make it interesting.