I’ve written my way into the beginning of the end of Act I of my story. I’m in the middle of chapter six. I finally get to start pulling away the wool that’s been covering my main character’s eyes and that’s put me in a good mood. There’s only so much time you want to spend in the dark with your main character. I need one more chapter to complete the first act’s arc. So after chapter seven I will have officially finished the first fourth of my book.
Getting to this point has opened my eyes to what this story should be, but it’s also opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t have all the answers. As much as my main character has been in the dark, I have too. I tried so hard to plot every action out, every chapter, every character and I realized, as someone told me once, “Yeah, you start out with an idea but eventually it takes on a life of its own and you have to let it do that.” That’s what’s happening here. Hardly anything I’ve planned for is coming out the way I first envisioned it. But the outlining was useful because it allowed me to see in broad strokes where the most main actions/turns need to happen. I have a very broad idea of what’s going on here and I have my pre-planing to thank for that. But as far as the details go, I thought I could just map this story out, but I was utterly wrong.
This also taught me a valuable lesson: don’t try to control a story. It won’t let you.
I’ll keep writing and perhaps make up a new outline as I work until I get to the point where I’m confident I know what I’ve outlined will correspond with the story. Because of this the book proposal has to wait a little longer, but that’s alright.
To get more specific for a moment: this morning’s writing was about revelations and action. To prepare for this chapter I woke up extra early and let myself pick up the coffee I like the best instead of making instant like I usually do and I bought myself a favorite breakfast, cinnamon raisin bagel with light cream cheese. Yum. So I drank my coffee, ate my breakfast and wrote for a little over an hour. This mini routine helped prep me for a big chapter and I wanted to feel awake and “ready,” but this got me thinking: I wonder what I’ll think of the writing I do now when I’m older, say, in my thirties. I just found out that one of my favorite writers, Michael Crichton, wrote several books under a pseudonym before he started publishing under his own name. How did I not know this?! The covers of his early books look like slightly fluffy sexy thrillers with a man grabbing a woman around her waist about to kiss her while a gun dangles from his other hand. I wonder if writing those books allowed him to hone his craft, the art of writing thrillers that he’s so known for, before he made his work more layered and stepped away from the James Bond-looking stories. I’ll have to read them and see for myself. But, one of his early books detailed the controversy of abortion so he’s always had a flair for mixing politics and drama with thrilling storylines.
It puts things in perspective though. You have to grow into your craft but you always have the potential in you. He was writing way back in the day, while obtaining a medical degree. If I can draw some kind of artful conclusion here it would sound like this: keep doing what you love, keep creating and it’ll come together (Let’s hope!!).