I've been turning over an idea for a story for what seems like an age, and earlier today I got a new angle on it. Sitting here, piddling about on the internet, not only the first line but the whole first paragraph just spilled out. I know it's the product of all that turning over of ideas, but I'm still very grateful for it. Not least because I am once again persuaded that the preliminary brainwork is more than just goofing off.
You just can't make that kind of thing happen, can you; you can only hope that it will, if you feed the black box in your head, lavishly, and wait.
Exactly. It seems to me that, groundwork done, finding the right angle will happen and it's like finding the key to the door. By right angle I mean the right approach to your story, the right take on your character, the right voice, the right whatever it is that's been eluding you. And until that happens, you can't write the story you most want to write.
yes, it's always a thrill when that happens - so much of the creative process seems to go on in the subconscious and then when it eventually breaks through, it's as though it's come out of nowhere. The brain is an amazing thing...
Rose Tremain says something in her essay about how you can read and plan and dream and research and everything else for ages and ages, and then ... you just have to wait till the first sentence comes along. And you just can't know if it will, and you can't make it happen if it won't.
I'm fascinated by how creativity works: when you have to stop yourself procrastinating and go on hammering away, and when you have to stop yourself hammering away and go for a walk.
I love it when that happens, and it's truly an art form to try and understand how to mold your creativity into the right shape and pull it out.
Congratulations on getting that productive feeling of progress, it's addictive!
Recently I started a new story. I had the idea for over a year and jotted down some rough notes that I rearranged, removed and rewrote over and over. I decided to start writing it to see if that would help. I rwote the first three or four paragraphs in several different ways, starting in different places, different styles, different moments. It never felt right.
One evening I just sat down and my brain told me to write it, so I did. Next thing I know, I've got two thousand words for the first chapter and it's exactly what I wanted to do. The atmosphere and feeling are what I wanted and it starts strong. I've no idea where it came from and didn't' have a clue that I was going to do that ten minutes before I sat down to write something.
Now, I try not to force a story. If I can't get the feel right then it gets shelved until something tells me it's ready. When those first few paragraphs come out and set the scene and mood, I know it's ready to work on.
It's a strange feeling, and I'm still learning how to better control it, and in some instances, hurry it up!