I started a short story the other day and I have been staring at the blank screen, the proverbial blood beading upon my forehead.
I had this great idea for a murder which would fit into Bouchercon’s call for submissions. I have a set-up. I have the murder. And after that, I have nothing.
I’m not saying I have writer’s block. I’m just saying the story isn’t appearing fully formed in my head.
So I’m slogging my way through a paragraph at a time. I figure I’ll just do stream of consciousness until something magical, like a plot twist, happens. After all, you can’t edit a blank page, right?
I’m pretty sure that my favorite scene has no plot point. Not to worry, when I figure out whodunit, I’ll go back and hide a clue in there.
It’s not this way when I write books. The first 15,000 words just flow out of my fingers before I stall out.
The wise and wickedly funny Laurie R. King spoke at the Book Passage Writers Conference earlier this year. She said when she hits a blank spot, she jumps ahead to a scene she knows will be in the book, writes that and goes back and bridges them together.
So, you’re not really writing at the beginning, you’re starting at the end and working backwards.
I’m currently reading Story Trumps Structure by Steven James. He kind of writes from the middle working back and forward at the same time, after he gets the story started.
I like that idea too.
So, Mysteristas, do you ever abandon a story? What is the upside/downside of slogging your way to the end?