Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Middle of the night revelation...

While lying awake very early this morning, after Sean left for work, I started to mull over the problem with my plot. Yeah, I know, I keep saying I have it fixed, but then something else pops up. So, anyway, I was lying awake, focussing on my story rather than the multitude of things over which I can obsess at 3 am, and had a complete breakthrough, something that will ratchet up the conflict in my story. My hero, Henri, is searching for a traitor - he believes Madeleine, the heroine IS that traitor. So he sets out to test her - a test she will pass, but that test then sets up more of a story and their developing relationship triggers more than enough additional conflict to sustain the story (as in she doesn't want to marry or have children and he wants to marry and have a child to carry on the family name, after seeing the rest of his family butchered).

Not only did all this come to me somewhere between 3 and 4 am, BUT, I fell asleep and still remembered it when I woke up later. It took me a while to clue in that I'd figured something out, but once I did, it all came back to me. Yes, I know, I should keep a pen/paper beside the bed - BUT, not only would Cleo make off with the pen (and wake me up in the process), but if I wake up enough to write down what plot twists I've come up with, I then won't get back to sleep.

Obviously I was meant to remember this. What absolutely fascinates me about this whole process is that I've been working on planning this book (along with moving etc) for the last year or so and only now are these details coming to light. Yet something stopped me from really starting writing the story - I knew instinctively what I had wasn't quite right. For a while I actually considered giving in and moving onto something else (there are a couple of other characters who have put forward their stories to me), but I couldn't quite bring myself to do that either. Now I know why.

My question to you is, do you believe that stories have a timing all their own? That they're organic, and just need time to germinate and mature? That we need to be patient as that happens? Or are you able to come up with your plot all at once, then just go with it? Neither way is worse nor better, I'm just curious if I'm the only one for whom this kinda thing happens.

Teresa

Currently Reading: Dark Angels by Karleen Koen
Also Currently Reading: The Adventurous Bride by Miranda Jarrett
Link of the Day: More Wisdom from Kristin Nelson

7 comments:

Kelly said...

I've got this theory that we subconsciously know what the story is, but sometimes it has to work its way up through all the stuff to surface. I'm having the same experience with Finding Home, things cropping up that make the story better and me going 'I knew something was off' and 'oh yeah! that's it!'.

Brenda Oig said...

Sometimes things come to me like that. The same thing happened with my climax for the first book. It hit me in the middle of the night and I shot straight up in bed. I have aha moments and at other times the plot comes all at once and sometimes it just comes as I write it. Brains are mysterious things. If it's not coming, I call that my percolate time. I don't try and force it, just let it roll around in my mind and eventually it will come.

Rene said...

I'm a firm believer in organic storytelling. I don't think all writers are that way, but I know I am. And for me, there is no use fighting it.

Melissa Marsh said...

It really depends on the story. I know I had one story that I sat down and had the plot completely figured out after about an hour of writing it out. Other stories take a lot longer to figure out.

Jen Holling said...

I think whether you plot in detail or not, a story has to percolate in a writer's mind before, during, and after the writing. Some need to percolate longer than others--and some have been there all along in bits and pieces (which you thought were different stories with something "missing") when suddenly they come together and you realize all they were missing was each other--and why couldn't you see that before? But maybe that's just because I am a super-slow writer!

Katy Cooper said...

I think they do need to marinate in your brain, or stew, or something. The story I'm working on now started off as an image from a dream I had a couple of years ago. I've loved the image since it came to me, and I've thought "Someday I'll write a story about that," but it was just an image, nothing else.

And then one day at the end of November, it came to me and I've been working on it ever since. The thing is, I'm working it out in advance, but stuff still appears to me. I still think, "Hmmm, that's not right, that's not working," and I let it go, and then, almost in passing, the thought comes that fixes the problem.

Very strange, the workings of the creative mind...

Nienke Hinton said...

What is it about the middle of the night that makes our muses come out? Glad to hear the story is coming along.