Week 51

So this week I decided I needed a bit of a kick up the arse with my story (not least because I realised with horror that, a few weeks since writing properly and regularly, I had forgotten where I was in the plot). The work situation continues, so I've had to grit my teeth and bear the fact that I won't get to write much for the next week or two, but I needed to get that excitement about writing back.

I took matters into my own hands and turned things on their head. By which I mean, I turned my storyboard on its head.

Old story board New story board

It was surprisingly invigorating.

I had been feeling with alarm my interest in the story ebb - perhaps it wasn't any cop after all, not worth pursuing - and found it hard to get going again after the Christmas break and with so much other work.

It is interesting how tightly bound a story's integrity is with its regular exercise. The way some writers fetishise "story" above all else gives the impression that it is a thing, tangible and independent, that either exists or does not exist. Well, that's not entirely true. Leave a book for long enough, however much you were enjoying it, and its grippingness (grippidity?) starts to pall.

It's the same when you are writing one. I was starting to lose interest in those flimsy white cards on a board, but reordering them helped me dig back into my story. I also visited an old spot I used to frequent, now empty and passed by a stream of mindless cars, back in the days that inspired my story in the first place. It all worked to remind me what impact I want this story to have.

"Impact" is the best word I can find to describe this proto-story before it's written down - it doesn't (unfortunately) appear before me in a list of scenes or acts. It kind of suspends itself - unfurls uncertainly like those delicate paper chains I used to make at Christmas - this tight, brilliant story that I can feel but not quite (yet) express.

More important that reinvigorating the story, turning my board on its head and seeing it from this angle, in three columns rather than four or five wobbly rows, I could see where in the story I was. See that yellow star towards the bottom of the second column?

I was at the beginning of the end!

Though it feels somewhat more like the end of the beginning. There's a lot still to go.

Word count this week: 0 Total word count: 95,028 First draft: 85,012