Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Writing: Getting the Pages to Take Fire

I've had a great day!

Yesterday, I kind of knew where I was going with my story, but I had a lot of kinks to work out.  Places where I wasn't sure which direction to head, or how to resolve some problem. 

I had three potential versions of the story, and wasn't sure which one I wanted -- the long one (novel-length), or the shorter one (novella).  What's worse, I knew what I really was trying to write was a short story, and it just wasn't working out.  There was just too much to fit in!

Today, everything resolved itself, and fit together.  All the fog cleared away, and I could see forever.

It dawned on me that finding inspiration to write fiction is a little like building a fire in a fireplace the old fashioned way (without firestarting logs, or natural gas switches).

Getting a fire going requires you to have the proper materials and good preparation.  Even still, a number of other things all have to work right.  Many times, I've gotten the tinder in there, added quick-burning materials as starter (not sure about you -- I use crumpled newspaper, an egg carton and used pistachio shells), and had a couple logs of fast-burning pine, and it still would go out before really
catching fire.

For me, and I imagine for a lot of you, writing is like that.  You can't force it.  You can do everything right, and you still can't get it going.

Writing is a creative process.  Particularly for fiction, though I've experienced this on non-fiction projects, too.  Sometimes you just have a block, or maybe you just lack inspiration.  You can dabble, and get heat and smoke, but the fire won't take hold.

Today, it lit.  And once I had it started, it kept burning, hotter and hotter. 

And, as an author, you know.  That's how you get that really warm feeling inside.