Friday, October 03, 2008

Just a little windswept

They say that characters have minds of their own, and they say that stories can kind of write themselves. I've always been skeptical, because I believe myself to be master of my imaginings.

That's my opening statement. Here's where I'm going:

My novel has been coming in chunks recently. They seem like sizable chunks as I write, and I'm always surprised when, instead of ten pages, I have five. I wondered where the surprise came from until I figures out how much I was actually thinking about this story as I've been writing it. Because of the sheer volume of attention I'm devoting to it two things are happening: when I take breaks, my head hurts; and I truly expect larger chunks of prose.

Admittedly, this novel hasn't, so far, been a shining example of beautiful English, but it has, as it were, been "writing itself" mostly. The beginning I had to force into existence, flinty and sparky and kindling makes story. But then I just sort of steered a little and pointed out scenic attractions; the story's tour guide through the murky parts of my imagination. Just over the last spread, though--the last thirty pages, maybe--I've started to move further back from the front, even. The tour group that my story was had started taking its own initiative, at least that's how it felt. And now I'm, more or less, straggling in the back, trying as hard as I can to just keep up while my tour group of a story hares along at a thousand curiosities a second.

It's gotten so that I like to just take a break every now and then. Not to think about what to put next, but to figure out what just happened so I can understand where I am now.

Comfortingly, I can put it back into a track for a while after that. I'm glad I still have some control over it.

My head hurts.

No comments: