I’m writing a new story at the moment, feeling my way into the characters, discovering new things about them as I write. This is my favourite part of the whole writing process, this ‘getting to know you’ phase. It’s the one reason that I don’t think I could ever become a true Plotter, as much as I can see the benefits.
I’ve written about 15,000 words now. Most of them have come easy, a simple matter of writing down what seems to be blowing about in the ether. But some of them have been very, very hard. I think of these sections as dark tunnels, where I’m writing cautiously, syllable by syllable, not exactly sure where I’m going. And then, suddenly, I see light and it’s a headlong dash into wide open, flowing country of the next section.
I love the surprise factor of writing this way. I’m learning about my characters, tiny little details, things that make me think ‘why?’. I’ve learnt to trust these tiny little details, leaving them in place, moving forward, trusting that the story will unfold and somewhere down the track there’ll be an ‘aha!’ moment and the reason for that tiny little detail will be revealed.
I can do this now, because writing The Mapmaker Chronicles taught me that the writing brain works in mysterious ways. Tiny little details that I had written in book one, because they were part of the characters and therefore part of the story, came together in book three in ways that I would never have imagined had I consciously sat down to think about it.
Which is not to say that I am without fear about where it’s all going and whether I’ll get there. Writing without a map does mean that you can find yourself in the wilderness, thirsty, tired, and wondering if you’ll ever find civilisation again.
Wish me luck!