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

Posted by:submeg

Musician, Writer and Inspirer. I discuss the projects I am working on, the services I provide and my general thoughts.

4 replies on “WIP: Ninth Update

  1. Hahaha…nice wall art.

    You know my thoughts on this…. Flexible all the way–in the way of storytelling. How much freedom to give readers is a trickier question. You need to befriend Al Boudreau on facebook. He’s always creating these kinds of threads. You get tons of insight from the minds of other writers/authors. Find me, he’s on my profile page under my friends (I only have writers and authors on THAT particular facebook account.) Laney McMann. It’s public.

    Anyway….this is a sided and heated topic, really. Personally, I like to lead my readers ‘in’ to a certain point. Hopefully they choose to follow the pathway through the darkness, and learn along the way.

    I don’t always subscribe to the less is more theory. I’m all for letting readers use their own imagination–they will anyway—but this is *my* imagination creating a world. It’s like asking a reader to help you write your story. What the hell?

    When I’m the reader I want to inhabit the world the author has created, not fumble through wondering where I am or what’s going on. BUT…..that’s just me. Anne Rice is my Icon. I want to see, feel and touch things. I’ll be using my own imagination anyway, so why not meld it with hers?

    A LOT of other writers disagree with me and prefer to allow readers to fill in the gaps. Not my style as a reader or writer. Fantasy fan though—I came to see the show. 😉

    And I am so not referring to purple prose when I mean I like description btw. Overkill is never good in my book.

    Show don’t tell is hard for me too sometimes. Especially when you’re walking the narrow line btwn too much and not enough. All these damn rules. Just write, Leigh. You’ll figure it out. Promise. Your characters will shout at you when something is off.


    1. Hmm! That is true! I realise that if you are creating a world for the characters to live and interact within, that you need to develop the world so they are not walking around in what I like to call “white space”. (Think Neo and Morpheus in the training program in The Matrix when they are loading up the guns). By creating the world, it allows the reader to be in it as well, to perhaps become one of the people inhabiting the planet as you describe the environment.

      Then again, I see it all too often where I read six pages on how the lily pads blow in the breeze and I want to run the book through a shredder.

      Maybe I will have to go back and add more description, not sure yet. Only time will tell. I have a clear outline of what the world looks like, I just can’t draw to save my life so it will remain bottled up in there and the only way it will come out is through words.


  2. Hahahaha! Run the book through the shredder? Classic.

    Good Matrix reference. Exactly. I enjoyed those movies, but sometimes all the shades of grays and whites were distracting.

    I can’t draw either, but I can see my story like it’s a movie reel running through my head. I write what I see. 😉


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