Writing Inside the Box

My current project is giving me a lot of trouble, more so than any other story I’ve attempted before. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that’s blocking the flow, but every time I look at my story, I feel lost.

Some writers are like architects: everything is beautiful and precise and structured. Some writers are like gardeners: their ideas grow more organically. I am a rather disorganised writer, my ideas are like seeds that I germinate and encourage to grow and bloom. While the main thrust is ever upwards, there are branches that I go back and cultivate or trim as I need, pruning and grafting until I have a complete form.

I usually start with a sentence and let the words flow out of me, happy to be carried along by the stream. Occasionally I come back to fill parts in, rearrange sections, & add scenes I thought of later. This has never bothered me before. I have never planned out a plot from beginning to end, more often than not, I have no idea how a story is going to end until I’m at least halfway through. This hasn’t bothered me either, except that you can’t really write a blurb when you don’t know what the point of the story is going to be.

I have a vague plan for how Grim Repercussions should unfold, but I just don’t seem to be able to get there. At first I thought it was because what I’d written so far was a mess. So I sat down & rearranged & split & merged & added-in & generally moved things around. I decided on a structure & thought “there! Now that that’s done, I can get on with things.”

But I still felt lost. I thought that maybe too much structure was cramping my style, so I pulled some things & changed some things, & I was even able to get some writing done. But, the next day, thinking about getting some more writing done & my head is still all in the wrong frame. I’m still looking at word counts & worrying about my chapters not being the same length. I’m still trying to work out why, when my detective has more cases to worry about, my chapters seem to be getting shorter. I’m still worrying about which parts of which investigations need to be kept together, instead of just worrying about getting them written.

Perhaps the problem is that is is the first time I’ve started my composition in yWriter. I love yWriter, but every project I’ve written was either started before I knew about yWriter, or was initially written in word processing software for NaNoWriMo. I think I need to get out of this box altogether & start composing free-form again. Without worrying about word counts, I can put scene and chapter breaks wherever I feel, I can write sections and not worry about where they belong in the greater scheme of things.

It’s time to set my writing free again.


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