Write the Words and Solve the Puzzle

I don’t plot my stories. Not in any real sense; I find if I have the whole thing written down and planned from A to B to C, the story is robbed of its magic and it’s no longer fun.

Instead, I have a very vague idea of what I want the story to be about, some spark that’s going to serve to set it off. “Murder”. “Sociopath”. That kind of thing. Then I’ll decide what big event I want to have happen in the story (hint: people often die). Then I get to sit back and write the thing.

It’s an adventure, not knowing exactly where the story will go. I’ve heard it said by other writers and I can vouch for it myself: half the time I’m just as surprised as (I hope) the reader is. Things will turn at the last moment and suddenly it’s a whole new story. (For example, What’s Inside was going to be about a terrible little boy mutilating animals in his backyard. Then I thought, don’t many kids who torture animals grow up to be murderers? I skipped a step and BAM Cody kills his teacher. I had no idea that was going to happen when I sat down to write.)

The reason I’m talking about this today is that I’m stuck again. It doesn’t have the sense of frustration that often accompanies being stuck; instead I have a couple pieces that I like and I need to solve the puzzle of how they tie in to one another. It’s fun instead of frustrating, because once those pieces click I’ll be off in an exciting new direction.

So I’ll sit back and wait. I’ll trust in my brain, my Muse, wherever the hell these ideas come from, and know that the puzzle will fit together at some point.

If you happen to catch me smiling to myself today, that’s a pretty good sign I’ve figured it out.

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