Sunday, February 7, 2010

Writing my way into the story

I love a challenge and an adventure. I start out with half of what I need and figure things out as I go- just ask my poor daughter Katie who wandered an un-touristy part of Munich with me when I brought the wrong map. To me, that's part of the learning process and part of what makes the whole adventure memorable and fun.
When I started my novel, I had an outline and some ideas and some general knowledge of how to write a book. What I didn't have was a clue that those things would be complete inadequate. It's taken me twice as long as I expected and it's many times harder than I would have thought. I've started and stopped and re-written my outline so many times that the current story bears little resemblance to the original.
What I have basically done is found my voice and my story as I went, what some authors call 'writing your way into the story'. I began with an idea of who my characters were and what path they'd take. What I found was that my structure limited the characters too much. I had to allow them room to grow and breathe and define themselves, just like real people. As soon as I did, they took over the story and I become the recorder-of-deeds so to speak. At times, writing this book has felt like an out-of-body experience. What an adventure. What a learning process. What fun!

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