Friday, January 22, 2010

Trough of despair

Hey, I passed 400 entries in this journal the other day.

It's not going well. I'm coming to the realization that I don't have much of a story at all. I'm knocking my head out to figure out one plot issue, under the mistaken idea all along that that one point is so key that it will carry the rest of the book. It's a trifle. I need a lot more story to make the book worthwhile.

It's helped me to remember that the core of the story has to be about relationships. (Did I already say this in an earlier entry?) Even if I know a lot about individual characters -- and I don't know much -- there's no story until they start to get intimate and have conflicts.

Basically, all I have is a setting. An interesting one, I hope, and not just a gimmick. But no matter how interesting it's not going to be a story until I start to pile on some trouble for the characters.

Figuring this out, as usual, is part of the process and ought to count as progress, but I can't help but notice the number of days passing by with not addition to my word count. Instead I'm making lots of theoretical notes.

Yesterday, I spent all day putting what plot I think I know on to slips of paper to shuffle. Boy, did that reveal some gaps.

Today I've been going through the exercise of outlining a book that is a favorite and that is inspiring this one. The point of the exercise is to see how that book works, where the sense of story comes from, the motive power, the interest. That's revealing all kinds of machinery that my story so far lacks.

It's the eternal problem with me. I've always gotten overexcited about scene and scenario without having any sense of plot.

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