WIP: Ninth Update
Word count: Approximately 4,500
I have just completed the first chapter! At first I found it difficult to get moving, but I realised that once I started, it was easy to keep the momentum. As I had previously mapped out what I was trying to achieve, I knew how the story had to weave to get to the destination.
Something that I discovered was that even though I had PLANNED to go in this direction, and explain x,y,z; the story had other ideas. After putting some of story down on the page, I would put my reading hat on and step into the shoes of the reader and realise, but I want to know about w now! I went with it and didn’t ignore those thoughts. From this I feel that the story is on the right path and I haven’t tried to force it too much.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve accepted that this is a first draft, and this has helped provide me with motivation and a bit of a sense of ah, who cares? attitude. I’m still taking it seriously, but if I notice something that needs to be fixed or a paragraph that needs to be expanded/reduced, I make a note of it and move on. I don’t get tied down with trying to make it perfect, as I have a feeling that as it moves forward, the paragraphs that I wrote in the beginning will show me what I need to fix, rather than me trying to decipher the problems.
Something else that I’ve had to do was to create a timeline. As the background of the story spreads over a long stretch of time, I need to make sure I can remember when I said particular things have occurred. There is no use in mentioning previous moments in time if you keep getting them mixed up. This has proved to be useful now, but as time goes on and I move away from the introduction into the description of the normal situation, I’m guessing it will lose its usefulness.
What I am having difficulty with is the show, don’t tell concept. There have been a couple of times I have written out a sentence and realised that I just told them it was cold. Luckily, a red light began spinning, the siren went off and bars on my windows materialised. It was if I was dictating the story to a scribe and he stopped writing and looked up at me with an expression that looked like this –
At least I’ve realised I stuffed up, I just wish there was a simple way to turn the sentence from a tell to a show, without it waffling on like a roll of toilet paper unraveling…
My final decision I’ve made so far is that I don’t want to spend copious amounts of time describing the environment. I did a quick image search for “futuristic cityscapes” and I found quite a few that I though looked a) plausible and b) interesting. I realised that what I perceived civilization to look like in the future will be completely different to what someone else visualises. By providing a few hints here and there, it will help build up the environment but not suffocatingly so.
What are your thoughts on providing flexibility in your story planning? Is it a good or bad idea? How much freedom have you given to readers to utilise their own imaginations whilst reading your work?
Writing, my writing, WIP