There’s been a character and concept I’ve been wanting to explore for a long time. A long time. I’ve made notes: written down questions, scenes, ideas and yet the story did not come. The essential plot, the essence of the thing was missing. It was just an idea, not a thing ready to be told, not a Story at all.
Writer Carol Shields said “A story is about moving from one state to another, a movement that, in more interesting fiction, is psychological, involving a growth of awareness, a gathering of insight about what it means to be human.”
Sounds like a plot to me.
In a refresher course I recently took, plot was explained as “the main events of a novel or story devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence”. And this sequence is not supposed to be “this happened and then this happened” but “this happened, therefore this happened.” A subtle difference but essential to good story telling.
Shields also said:
“All writers know about the magic of opening sentences, the golden door that takes you into the story, pushes at the future and nudges your expectations, setting the tone and carrying you over that threshold into the fictional world. These sentences work best when they carry on their back an implied question.”
I think I have a grip on my story. The one with a plot and an opening sentence. I don’t have to know the whole story before I write it. I just have to show up, watch what my character does, observe the “therefores” and write towards a suspected ending.
Shields had a daily writing practice of writing a few pages, followed the next day by editing those pages then writing more new pages – until the repeated pattern, after a year or so, produced a book.
At this point in my writing, it is time to be like Carol – to show up and write a few pages every day.
I confess I don’t know if I can show up every day on the page. What I know is that it is time to open the door and take this leap.