Earlier this year, I wrote about a project I’ve undertaken to write a novel in a year. Led by Ellen Sussman, our group of fourteen writers meets about once every two months for class and, in between, we write. Keeping up is a real challenge and one that I’m not currently meeting, but I am writing and even if I don’t quite get to the finish line in one year, I know I have something going.
I’ve never tried to write this way before–without a net. What I mean is that I am just writing scene by scene and following Ellen’s advice which is simply to try to let go and ask the key question “What happens next?” I don’t have an outline, I have no idea where I’m going, and one of the advantages I can see is that I’ll make discoveries as I go. If I, the writer, make discoveries as I go, surely my readers will make discoveries too. Events and behaviors will be less predictable and more surprising. At least, that’s the idea, I think.
We met this morning for a great session on character. Now, what I need to do is understand my characters better, both in terms of the events of their lives and their reactions to them. When events happen within the time frame of the novel, their motivations should be clearer to me.
We are now about half way through the year and I ought to have 150 pages by now. I don’t, but for the first time, I have a sense of the real value of the process. Now, onwards!