The problem with being a “pantser” rather than a plotter in the writing world is the second guessing. At least in my case. Last week, I finally decided which novel I would focus on during NaNoWriMo. The working title of the book is Wings of the Wind. Please don’t judge harshly; I’ve had the title since I was 15. Back then, it wasn’t even the name of a book, but of a character … nothing more. An entity perhaps. He develop in my mind and heart, and at some point along the way, I decided he needed a story. It’s been developing slowly in my mind for nearly 15 years.
Why, then, the second guessing?
I wrote over 15,000 words in this story a number of years ago. Back when I knew nothing of the importance of tension, deeply dimensional characters, POV concepts, or even genres. In other words, I’m starting at the beginning again.
So I’ve been thinking about where to start. And then I began asking myself what the core premise of the story really is. Never mind that I determined that an age ago. Suddenly, everything about the story was in question. The character’s age. The narrative POV. The sub-plots. The minor characters. The plot thickened and thinned and morphed, and I was ready to scrap it … and least for now, and begin working on another story instead.
A score of stories began clamoring for attention. “Pick me! Pick me!” Some of them I’ve begun; others are skimpy outlines, or a sentence-long premise.
Fed up with the sheer amount of ideas and premises bouncing around in my head, I sat outside to clear my head. Clouds still speckled the sky, deep blue from a long-awaited rain. It hasn’t rained in Fresno for months, and finally, the night of October 31, a steady downpour began. A great start to NaNoWriMo, I thought. I love the rain. But even the awesome weather did nothing to aid my creativity.
I prayed. “Lord, I don’t want to come to you just because I want something for myself. But I’m stuck. I don’t know where to begin or even if I should begin. Is NaNo a bad idea this month?” As I sat in the peaceful silence, I realized that I had never exactly committed this latest writing venture to Him. And a sudden dread entered my mind. What if it’s a bad idea this month? What if there is too much to do between work and studies? Maybe I should withdraw from NaNoWriMo this year.
Another writing project filtered into my mind. My first non-fiction book. I completed the second draft in April of this year. It’s been that niggling thought in the back of my mind. Don’t forget! It’s an important book. A unique message. But that’s all it’s been. An untouched “to-do” on my list.
“Okay, God, I’ll focus on my non-fiction project this month too. I’ll take some time each day to get through the third draft.”
I sat quietly, thoughts bouncing not-so-quietly through my mind. The main character of Wings of the Wind drifted through my mind, the thought of her relationship with her mother. A few new ideas crystalized and their relationship transformed. I suddenly knew where to start the story. I could breathe again.
What will come of this story? Of any of the things I am writing, or will write? I don’t know. I have no guarantees. But I have a Father who I am confident is concerned about every aspect of my life, who has a perfect sense of timing, and will guide me at every step and decision … writing and otherwise.
NaNoWriMo begins … and I’m on the train. Are you? If you’re taking part this year, “buddy” me at NaNo’s Website. My user name is bonitajewel. See you there … and Happy Writing!