Imagine that’s me huddled in the rocks beneath an infinite sky with a story I’ve written cupped in my palms. Do I release it like a dove to the big wide world, or not. There’s no easy answer for a pantser writer like me.
It all starts well, but somewhere in the process I always get lost by straying from the story arc in search of a new trail. As a friend cautioned, I’m susceptible to the antics of the antihero, Captain Tangent, defined by Yogi Berra’s famous quip, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
I am the master of the side journey and story scenes that entice me toward a glimmer of light on a dark trail with promises of enhancing the story arc, only to lead to a dead end. I write with a story mindset easily seduced by a maze of infinite paths, unable to see the pitfalls around the next corner. You need to be more disciplined, make notes, follow a plan,” literary superheroes tell me. I do make notes. I just – tend not to use them much. Why is that, Captain Tangent? My story telling imagination is a twisted spaghetti junction of chaos. It’s where all the fun is, where the best story elements lie, waiting for me to grab on while riding a hundred-mile-per-hour carnival ride.
It’s hard to describe what I go through in words. How ironic is that? I like visuals you can sense, and I’ll turn to the amazing photography of talented artists from Unsplash.com to help me.
Like most writers, I get a story spark from an ocean of ideas, and nurture it to the seedling of a first chapter. It sprouts robust and green in the dung ball I planted it.
I have a sense for how I want the story to conclude. It’s that subtle glimmer on a distant mountain in the dead of winter, of which I must return the story back to the shores of where the spark arose and result in the sunset of a good ending.
A little studying to research best conditions for the seedling to grow, followed by rifling through the card catalog of genres to repot it in – science fiction (soft or hard), dystopian, alternate universe, contemporary or fantasy. Who decides where it fits? So many choices, just write the damned thing.