Monday, 8 August 2011

Write the Story First!

Write the story first. Then fill in the details. Author John Locke said that. He’s one of the first ebook millionaires – an author who sells his ebooks for an astounding 99 cents. Yes, you read that correctly – under a buck. Even the so-called ‘dollar’ stores are pricing items $1.25 and above, so that’s a steal. I don’t really agree with his pricing procedure, but that’s another blog post set for another time.

What I do agree with is his advice. This is how John Locke writes a novel in 7 weeks. He doesn’t worry about the details of the story, only the story itself. Stuff like clothing, cars, weather, food, etc. is penned or typed in later. He just concentrates on getting the story out of his head. Write now. Research later. How poetic. How true.
These two sentences have given me great freedom to just flow with the story, instead of getting caught up in all the snarls and tangles of the river of details. Yes, you have to have an idea of structuring your story, but you can’t let that slow you down. I realize now that this was my problem at the recent Muskoka Novel Marathon I participated in to write an entire novella in three days. I was too caught up in the ‘writing stuff’ – the colour of the hair and eyes, the type of clothing, the setting – to just write the story I had so carefully outlined on paper.

I also have a bad habit – or maybe good in other people’s eyes – or rereading what I have just written. Like this blog. I’ve been over it a few times already. Wasting time, when I could be writing. Like now. It’s freeing, this feeling of writing from the seat of your pants, not know where this will lead, until something happens that sets you on another course. Opps, I stopped to check over what I’d just written. Damn. Busted. This is going to be a hard habit to break!
Maybe, from now on, I should just write what’s in my head, and then go over it when I’m done. It’s sage advice for sure, but it’s easier said than done!

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