Waiting for the Voices

It’s not writer’s block exactly. I’m just in a state of waiting. I find that my best work happens when someone moves into my head and starts telling me their story, in their own words, in their own voice. I know many writers have said this before. I wonder if non-writers just think, “Oh, that’s just a clever way to put it.” But that’s really what it feels like, a form of benign possession. I may become the kind of author who mostly works in first person.

I’ve tried lots of ways of starting a story. I’ve tried making outlines; the usual result is that I feel done then, like I’ve already told the story and don’t need to flesh it out. I’ve tried plotting the whole thing out, but I usually deviate from that in about 30 seconds, and it usually doesn’t help me to get started. I’ve tried starting with the worldbuilding, but that doesn’t make the story come forth–although I end up  with a lot of awesome worlds that are going to have someone’s story in them one day.

This makes it sound like starting is the hardest part, which isn’t really true. Usually the best way to get started is to be in a state of receptivity–yet to write every day, even if I know the project is going nowhere. In fact the act of writing a crappy story often transmutes into starting a good story. It’s a matter of opening some door in my heart, wide enough to let one of those voices in. “You’re just jealous because the voices talk to ME.”

How do you start a story?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rachel
    Jun 09, 2008 @ 15:02:18

    I COMPLETELY understand the way you write. I often feel the character surge up inside me and want to get out. Those are the easy times indeed!

  2. Caroline
    Jun 09, 2008 @ 15:23:46

    “……..I’ve tried plotting the whole thing out, but I usually deviate from that in about 30 seconds………”

    That’s how it’s with me too.

    I begin with an idea of where I want the story to go, but I know it won’t quite go there.

    The journey of writing something is exciting because my route is unknown and filled with delightful surprises along the way!!!

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