Really got going today.
Finally got off dead center and added 3,000 words to the story. Boy, I will not do that again. Taking an eight year break between chapters is a killer! Took a long time for me to get back into the story. In fact, I took a day off yesterday from writing Secret Spice so that I could just think about where the novel was going.
Why I trust this process is that we all (especially in the western literary tradition) know intuitively what makes for a good story. There is a basic structure that seems to be part of our psyche that guides us in our writing and, as readers, in our appreciation of story.
Think about it. Why are we so dissatisfied with the endings of so many shows or books? One reason is that the writer(s) didn’t fulfill the expectation of the promised story structure. We may not be able to put our finger on it, but we know when a story works or doesn’t work for us.
So for me, one thing I need to do more of is study the craft of writing. And read good novels. Especially for those of us who are just starting out in our writing career, we need to soak up good stories and practice practice practice by writing writing writing.
That’s what I’m doing now. Secret Spice may not work. It may sputter as a complete story. But I’ll keep moving forward, trying out new-to-me strategies (mechanics of the craft) for communicating the story (for a satisfying experience). Because that’s what writers really want to do. We want to be storytellers.
Or at least I do. There’s a difference between being a writer and a storyteller. Some people write beautifully but they can’t tell a story. I’d rather tell a satisfying story than get everything perfect on the page. Ideally, I want to be good at the craft and storytelling both.
In the end, if Secret Spice doesn’t satisfy, I won’t cry about it. And I won’t rework it or rewrite it or edit it to death. I’ll just move on and try to do better next time. In the meantime, I learn strategies and then let my creative brain go to work advancing the story.
That’s what happened today. I finally painted myself out of the corner and discovered how Ma got herself unstuck from being stuck in time (see Day 2). And I think it was a very natural, satisfying development to the story. Ultimately, the reader decides that kind of thing, but for now I’m happy with the result of today’s efforts.