My stories come to me in a myriad of ways.
Sometimes it’s a sliver of a remembered dream. Or I was people-watching and somebody fascinated me. Or I was mulling over something for another story and a new story ambushed my brain and took off with it.
That happens entirely too often.
And then I hit the quandry and one of two things happens:
- I have a great arc of a story where some undetermined thing happens to start the hero/heroine on their journey, I can see the twists and turns of the journey just perfectly, and then it all resolves…somehow.
- I have a slam-banging opening and an outstanding finish that will send them out in a blaze of glory and leave my readers breathless, but I’m not entirely sure how we get from one to the other.
I almost never have a beginning, middle and end when I sit down to write. That’s where the discipline thing comes in and it’s a real bitch sometimes. I have to force myself to come up with an outline, detailing beginning, plot points, climaxes and resolutions and then the ending, and of course, I don’t stick to it entirely.
That’s what outlines are for, after all – they’re just a guide, and most of the time, the story takes on a life of it’s own. As I question my characters and have them question each other, it morphs into something better.
I just wish it would give me all the details before it takes me for a ride.