Wednesday, December 1, 2010
So picture this. You're making your way through your manuscript, tweaking here and there, feeling like you know pretty much the whole story and how it unfolds, when you stop cold--realize something's missing. The paragraph you just read for the hundredth time leads logically and interestingly enough into the next, yet there's something missing. You feel it in your gut. You try and suss it out, but intellectual thought isn't any help at this stage. So you take a walk, make some tea, lie down for a 20-minute power nap.
Going back to the computer, you suddenly realize if you add a line just here it touches on two or three structural elements you were never really sure you needed but somehow couldn't let go of, or bits of character or dialogue you really love but weren't quite sure where to use or even if they belonged in the book at all. Pulls all of it together to become something larger--a plot twist, maybe, or an insight that adds deeper meaning to one or more of the plot lines. Raises the stakes, in other words.
Little miracles, these--precious gifts from the writing gods--and like all such serendipity the key is letting go of the plan and letting yourself be led by instinct. Keeping an open mind as you read your work and seeing it with fresh eyes every time.
This shot is of my "character wall" for Reese's Leap, which keeps me visually oriented to the characters and their storyline.