Thursday, December 30, 2010

The hardest part

I spent about half of December doing background work for my next story. I created the world and the characters and did a relatively detailed outline of the plot. All this is fun stuff to do. This is the part of the process where the world is fascinating, the characters are irresistibly intriguing and the plot is chock full of tension and symbolism and witty dialogue. Of course, all of that is in my mind. The story is 100 percent perfect - a shoe-in for a sale - when I'm in this stage of the process.

Then comes the hard part: I have to stop brainstorming and write the story itself. This is hard not on the mundane level of putting words on the page; I've already done most of the heavy-lifting with the brainstorming, and writing the story itself doesn't take much time or additional straining of the imagination muscles. It's hard psychologically. Because I know that once I start putting words onto the page, the story won't be perfect anymore. It will be only as good as my skills as a writer can make it. Granted, that gap - between what the story should be and what the story is - narrows (slowly) with each one I write, but it's still there. I find it difficult to write those first few paragraphs and kiss perfection goodbye.

But the deed is done. I'm probably 1,500 words or so in (I don't know the word count for sure because I'm writing longhand). Here's hoping I can keep this one closer to perfection than mediocrity.

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