Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The stranger in Chapter One

Sometimes I wonder that I'm ever able to finish a book.  I talk to other writers and they seem to come at it from a totally different angle.  They know their stories before they start to write.  They can tell you what's in their heroine's purse, her medicine cabinet and her past at any point in the process.

They KNOW stuff.

Me, I never do.  I seriously start out with a keyboard, a blank screen and a blindfold and I fumble and and I stumble and I run face first into the wall a few dozen times before I begin to understand the landscape I'm working with and the people I am creating.

I've tried the other methods--truly I have.  I've done the character interviews.  I've made the charts, the sticky notes, the vision boards.  But until I see my characters in action, until I watch them maneuvering in their unknown world, I don't get to know them.

I guess it's like a first date, for me.  I really don't want to know everything about them before we've even ordered cocktails.  Where's the fun in that?  I want to be surprised, intrigued and totally amazed by what they say.  I want to decide if I can fall in love with them or if I'm going to hate them along the way.

Like I said, it's a wonder that I ever finish a book with so much ambiguity in my beginning.  But I guess that's what keeps me coming back for more.

How about you?  Do you know where you're going and who you're taking along before you start writing?

1 comment:

Connie Flynn said...

I think if plotters are really honest they'll admit they don't know their characters very well either. It's kinda like that neighbor you've seen but never met. So you make up a story about her but when you finally meet you discover she's not like that at all. You think?