There I was, trundling along with my writing on the next novel, The Circle of Stars, and from out of the blue, came the big slap in the face.
When I write, I have a plan of sorts about what’s going to be happening but I always make sure to leave enough free room that I can amend and nudge the story as I go, depending on what the story does as I move along. I’ve referred to it as almost Bltzkrieg writing, where I blast off to a far off point I the story and then go back to the start and fill in details as I then repeated the journey.
But very often, a central detail of what I need to try and fold into and then build the story around, is missing for quite some time.
So how the hell do I write a coherent book if I don’t have the so-called keystone?
I just get the ball rolling and see how I get along, having enough of a plan where I need to go and the story, and indeed all of the central themes, spiral out of what comes to the surface.
I’ve often wondered if my ‘process’ is anything other than the weak minded way of bungling a story together or indeed, if it’s just the best way for me to be able to sort all of the ideas I have into some kind of order. I know when I start out, the place the story needs to eventually end up, but surely over planning to the Nth degree will drain all of the colour out of the words, leaving behind detailed descriptions but possibly lacking a degree of organic growth. Making sure you have all of the room to breathe when writing means that you’ll have space to include something you may have had in the back of your mind but which didn’t come to the surface until long into the process.
I think I’ve proved to myself that I’ve known what I needed to be saying at the core of the latest book for quite some time. I look back over the notes I’d made, re-examined the characters and what they need to be doing and even looked on the short story, Crossing the Line, which I published in Answers from the Darkness, with a new eye.
My message was always there.
I’d always known what was happening, it was just that I hadn’t told myself. Maybe the timing wasn’t right.
Certainly feels right now though.