marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

muddle from the middle

Everything in a story is built toward the climatic conflict, or toward the character's arc reaching completion, and revolves about a central notion.

That's a comment about structure, not about the writing process.

I don't start with an overview of the story or its central meaning.  I don't start with my ending.  I don't start with my beginning.  I usually don't start with my character.  What I usually do start with is an incident from the middle.  It may be a turning point in the story, it often is, but I don't know that at the time.  All I know is to start considering what could lead up to it, and what could stem from it, and who would do all the actions in the incident, and (secondarily) who would be deeply affected by the actions and the incident.  I may have to take notes.

But eventually, I snag something that looks remarkably like an opening.  At which point, I can start to outline.  It's kinda like getting a rose cutting to put down roots and start to grow before you try training it over a trellis.  Or if you were dumping in the middle of the Valley Full of Clouds, in a little hollow filled with lovely blue flowers,  and had to get to one side before you could blaze a path through the valley, to take in that hollow and all the other wonders, and to get to the other side.
Tags: beginnings, character arc, middles, outlining, plotting, unity of theme
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