How Does That Work?

So I’ve begun a new writing project because:

(a) the 5 or 6 I already have on the go aren’t enough to sustain me

(b) I have the attention span of a fruit fly

(c) it’s a way of avoiding the other things I should be doing

(d) it’s just too fantastic an idea to ignore

(e) all of the above

Don’t you just love multiple guess questions?

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The thing is I’m starting with nothing more than a title. Not to say I haven’t done that before, because I have. The stories for The Hemingway Tradition, Waltzing Annie Home, and Return to Bone Tree Hill all came after their titles. Moreover, those are three of the pieces I’m most proud of.

When I write, I always have an outline. It might not alway be on paper, but I ALWAYS know where the story is going. This time not so much. Yes, I know the general direction I’m headed, but it’s like I’m travelling through a fog to get there. And that is not a comfortable feeling for me. Other writers I know are quite fine with following hazy paths and writing 20,000 words they will later have to cut and replace with 20,000 new words. That doesn’t work for me. I may be a procrastinator, but once I’m on task, I’m nothing if not efficient, and there’s no way I’m wasting my time going down a rabbit hole.

So I’ve written the opening chapter, cleverly inserting all kinds of building blocks for potential plot directions, and I know what I want to say in at least the next two chapters. Rather than push on though, I’ve decided to pull in the reins and see what I know for sure.

It’s not precisely outlining. Actually more like a reflect and brainstorm activity. As I write down what I know, sure enough that leads me to what I didn’t know I knew, which in turn leads me to more and more revelations. Little by little, I’m feeling my way through the fog. Perhaps before the day is over I might actually have a trail of breadcrumbs that will take me where I need to go.

I don’t understand how this process works for me, but thank goodness it does.