Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Power of *

I feel really guilty sometimes, as I have a habit of abandoning my characters in the middle of highways, in prison cells, in hotel rooms, walking through snow storms, in orange groves and all manner of other places. I do this because usually my characters have just been involved in an Incident and once that has occured, I kinda run out of steam. OK, Incident occured, lesson learnt, now what? Sometimes my characters are stranded for weeks, years in some cases (I've had two characters stuck in a forest since 1995). So I find it hard to move the story along, to interconnect the numerous different scenarios that make up the story.
As a consequence of this, I have adapted a style of writing where I just write the Incidents and, after each one, use an asterix to mark the separation and passage of time, etc. and then go on to the next. That way, I keep writing, and hopefully will come back after my story is complete to fill in the missing gaps. Sometimes, however, I find that I don't need to fill in the space; an intelligent reader can gather that a passage of time has occured simply by a paragraph break. This also means that I now tend to write out of chronological order, so I write the climatic Incident sometimes quite early on. This helps me keep motivated, and also helps to direct the story, so that if I do get stuck, at least I can review where my characters roughly need to go. Now I have finally figured this out, I have dozens of characters that need rescuing from their respective places of limbo!

1 comment:

Robin Johnson said...

As Nathan Hale might have said, "I regret that I have only one asterisk for my country."