Friday, May 16, 2008

Novel Writing: Willing

I'm taking a few posts to share some thoughts about novel writing. This week, these thoughts are going to come up close and personal. I've been fearful of moving forward with my current project. I'm writing a big fat sci-fi epic. I'm on schedule with my plan but a certain terror has formed in me. This story has turned a dark corner, and that is not a welcome surprise. I find that my character is in more trouble that I thought she was. I think someone close to her is going to die. Someone I really love.

It's awful. I'm at the place where I have to be willing to follow my character. I have to be willing to follow my story. A novel gains momentum at some point. The impetus for the story is like a reservoir of water that grew and grew and then broke the dam. I thought about so many what ifs and what might bes. The writing is letting the water flood move forward across the plain, but unusual consequences are resulting. Things are getting uncovered that I did not expect.

I had a good conversation about floods this week with Janet Lee Carey. Yes, part of the process is discussing the ins and out of what you are doing with other writers. It's an absorbing, wonderful thing to me. Non-writers would probably find it boring. I also had an online chat with Pink (guess who?) and then Judy Gregerson. All their thoughts are swirling inside me and helping me embrace the true shape of my story. I must be willing. Oh, brave new world.

I have to do a shout out here at the end. The talented Mr. Kevan Atteberry is a member of my picture book critique group and he has been honored. He is the illustrator of the 2008 Children's Book Council's Children's Choice Award, K-2, "Frankie Stein" written by Lola Schafer.

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.


Vijaya said...

I think it takes a lot of courage to follow our characters. And in the process you discover something about yourself too ...

Be brave.

Janet Lee Carey said...

Your character is a trailblazer -- even in outer space. She's strong and resilient and so are you. I know how it feels to be sensing "bad stuff" down the line in the story, but I'm sensing there's treasure there too. You don't know what it will be until you get there. I'm loving this novel so far and want to hear more so keep on a goin' ms. Molly.