So I was writing yesterday, I'm still working on the book I started in November with the NaNo contest and I realized why I was having trouble focussing on the story. I had decided where I wanted the story to end and had actually mentally written the ending. This usually is a good thing. It's good to know or at least have an idea on where your story is headed or what point you are trying to make. It's like an essay, the kind you do in school. There should be a clear topic, a body and a clear ending. Your ending should reiterate the first few paragraphs and bring everything together in a nice little bundle. A story is a lot like that but bigger. You have the beginning that sets the stage, gives you a place in which your story is to be located and introduces at least some of the main characters. Then you have the body of the story that gives flesh and meaning to your location and your characters. You really need to give your main characters a lot of attention during this time because if you dont... well the story will be crap and completely forgettable. When you get to the end it is best if somehow someone in your main character cast has accomplished something. This would round out the story and give it some closure.
Now what did I do wrong? When I wrote Forever, Love I dreamt the entire last chapter, almost word for word. I typed it up the day after the dream and built a story around it. And I have to say that Forever, Love was an inspired story. It was unlike any other story that I have written. It was one of those that literally wrote itself and I must say had it not written itself I doubt if it would ever be finished. I tried with this new book The Poseidon's Daughter to write in a similar way. But it wasnt working.
So yesterday I sat down and read the last chapter of Forever, Love and that is when it occured to me, I could not write Poseidon's Daughter in the same way because I had started this book at the beginning and was supposed to let my character write the story as she went along, not the other way around. I found that because I was trying to manufacture the ending in my mind I was actually rushing my character towards that unknown ending. Unlike Forever, Love that was not rushed because I always knew what the ending would be, Poseidon's Daughter is unknown and needs to be left that way until I get there.
I dont know if that makes any sense to you, but in short; I was pushing my character and my story ahead so I could find the ending. That's not how you're supposed to write these kinds of stories. At least that's not how I write these kinds of stories. I dont know why I was rushing it, but I was and the story was suffereing. But I'm back on track now and my heroin is happily going about her business far from the end of her journey and that is exactly where she should be.
I think that few stories are written like Forever, Love. That story will always be special in a unique way for me because I did dream the ending and I did actually see the characters in my mind in the dream. I heard them speak and oddly when I actually listened to Amelia Earhart speak in an old News reel she sounded like the one in my dream. Before Forever, Love, before the dream I had never studied Ms. Earhart. I knew of her of course and respected her greatly but she was not a woman that was near and dear to my heart. Now however she most certainly is both near and dear to me. When I wrote Forever, Love her voice rang in my mind when her character spoke and when I got to Gwen, well her voice was in my head as well.
The writing of Forever, Love taught me so many things and one of them was to give my characters a voice that I could actually hear. This helps me to connect to them and their emotions and it allows me to write that emotion on paper, or in this day and age on the computer. I guess the thing I learned was that a character doesnt have to be spectacular necessarily or in some cases even believable, they just have to be alive. They have to have a voice. If you can hear them, you can see them and if you can see them, you can believe in them and a story can be written.
Okay, have a good day and be good to each other.