marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

the shape of the story

Plodding along on the outline's opening and middle, and every so often the muse hops up with "What about this?  Wouldn't this be neat?"  And at first, sure, throw it in, as long as it feels like the same story. . . .

By the middle, however, the story starts to take serious form.  Bright ideas have been carefully worked in, if they can fit at all.  Otherwise they have to be stored away for a sequel, another story entirely, or just to sit there and glitter.  The story's elegant rise and fall and the character's arcs don't fit them in.  Why, some old bright ideas may have to go.

But just throwing the ideas away also has its pitfalls.  I remember one author who wrote glorious openings and then fell apart when she could no longer introduce magical and marvelous wonders, but had to move her existing wonders about like so many chess-pieces to get something that resembled a conclusion out of them.  The shape of the story and the sense of wonder may be in tension -- they need to be encouraged to dance together in elegant figures -- sigh
Tags: character arc, grumbles, idea development, inspiration, middles, outlining, plotting, sensawunda

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