Recently I had been stuck on a particular section of a book. This section wasn’t particularly difficult, rather simple actually. But my protagonist was stuck in limbo after entering a door.
It was a rather vexing predicament, as I thought I had outlined well enough what I wanted to write. Which I came to find out later, I had.
Before I get into explaining why I was stuck, let me say that during this mental constipation I decided to try and get my mind off it and listened to some back episodes of The Creative Penn Podcast.
This episode had the guest Tom Evans. Who spoke about getting “In the zone, and staying there”. Even though he puts things in a new age style, he does have some excellent insights.
Using these, I didn’t accept the excuse “writers block”. I figured I wasn’t doing something right, either in my process or environment. Now to the why.
I had pictured the scene in my head, and my outline read “Will walks inside and starts talking to the parents”. Now while I knew the end result, the beginning, and the gist of the scene, I hadn’t built the scene in my mind.
Now, while this scene wasn’t essential to the plot, it set a stage of sorts which is very important for the overall story. I could have have gone a different way, rewrote the outline, but I liked it this way.
This way I had in my head plants a seed, drops an Easter egg if you will, that the reader can pick up as the stories unfold. That planted seed grows into a huge storytree with branches touching many minor characters and some major characters. It gives a why that the reader can accept and hold onto. So I had many good reasons for keeping that scene.
‘It’s already in my head, why can’t I put it on paper?’ I thought to myself. The thing was, it wasn’t in my head, only parts of it, that’s why I couldn’t get my character through the door. Metaphorically and literally.
So first, I had to tell myself the story, and then it all clicked. How can you tell a story to others if you don’t already have it yourself?
Now I’m not saying I built what I wrote in my head first, because I didn’t. I outline to keep myself on the track, checkpoints if you will. But that doesn’t mean I know every step I will take before I run the marathon of writing.
Histories are supposed to be exact, that’s the storytellers job to get them as exact as possible. That hardly happens, but it should be that way. Fiction writers are free to make things up, that’s their job. Write entertainment.
If you consider writing a job, and you love writing, then you love your job. If you keep a high work ethic, you will run into situations where you believe that your idea is exactly what the reader would enjoy. If you look at that idea from many angles and still believe its best, then you have the logic to trust your intincts, and figure out a way to become a better writer to fit what you feel will work best.
Just remember, if the story isn’t in you, you can’t share it with others.