In the Writer’s Chair: Untangling Story Knots

As I noted in my last blog, I’m in the middle of working out a major sequence in Crossline, the new novel I’m writing. And as happens to me often when I’ve got a big sequence to work out, I’m a little stuck, like trying to untangle a massive ball of string.

I’ve got this idea, and it’s pretty crucial to the overall story, and while I’m close to working it out, I’m not quite there. So picture this big ball of string. It looks cool, and I want to get at it, so I start pulling the string loosAs I noted in my last blog, I’m in the middle of working out a major sequence in Crossline, the new novel I’m writing. And as happens to me often when I’ve got a big sequence to work out, I’m a little stuck, like trying to untangle a massive ball of string.

I’ve got this idea, and it’s pretty crucial to the overall story, and while I’m close to working it out, I’m not quite there. So picture this big ball of string. It looks cool, and I want to get at it, so I start pulling the string loose. And there it goes, on and on, and then it gets stuck in knot. OK, no problem, I’ll just slow down a minute and untangle that knot. And I do, and then resume the greater untangling.

But the longer I go the more knots I find, and even though as a major sequence–this ball of string–it looks great overall, I keep getting stuck on the details. And like with a ball of string, sometimes the knots are big and sometimes they’re small, but either way, I can’t get to the end until I’ve untangled that knot.

That’s how my mind works. Not always, but it happens fairly often when I write. All the ideas I’ll need to make this book really explode are already in my head, drawn from the ether. It’s all there. But the sequence of events are all jumbled up, and I’m not sure if what I’m planning right now makes sense. So I have to follow the string as far as it will take me. And sometimes like that ball of string, I somehow manage to get myself all tangled up worse than when I started, so I have to go back and retrace the string to now undo the new knot I just created.

So … yeah … sometimes this writing business takes a little longer than I would like. But that’s also part of the fun. Untangling the knot. Because If I’m having fun unraveling this mystery, coming up with a story that totally works, and then running my finger down the string to make sure there are no little knots left over to trip me up, then I’m confident that anyone reading the story will have just as much fun.

I can’t say how much longer it will take for me to untangle this particle knot. Maybe I’ll have it untangled by the end of the day, maybe the end of the hour. It could take me days, or even weeks. I never know. But what I do know is that I’m close, and when I get this ball string all straightened out, it will have been totally worth the effort, because if I’ve worked out all the knots, the story I’m meant to tell will be on the page. And then we’ll really have some fun.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/10/18 08:21

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