Following the Leader

In this case, the leader is the story, and I’m just clicking at the keyboard, following it wherever it goes. I have no idea where it’s going to end up. Heck, it might end up in the trash folder.

But, do you know what? I’m having fun.

For a long while now, writing has lost some of its charm. Oh, I still love doing it, but I have let it become a lower priority in my life. I tell myself, every day, that I want to write. I want to dedicate my day to making words. Yet, other things come along … household and family needs, my other job, killer viruses … and they draw my focus away from what I love. I’m not saying that this story has stopped all of that. It has, however, given me the impetus to pull myself back in, tune out the distractions, and become absorbed in the lives of my characters again.

Of course, letting the story make the decisions, though it’s fun, might wind up being my downfall, as well. Several times now, the characters and plot have thrown me curve balls. So far, I’ve managed at least to keep the words in the ballpark by adjusting my trajectory a bit. Recently, however, they tossed a whole new aspect to the mystery into my lap, and I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it.

Is it just a sideline tidbit? Does it play strongly into the main story? Is it going to change virtually everything? Or is it just a diversion that I might, in some way, use to throw the reader off just a bit?

I honestly have no idea.

I look at it this way … if I can’t figure it out at this point in the story, the reader won’t be able to, either. I just hope I can solve the puzzle before the climactic moment of the story, or rewrites are going to be a lot less fun than the first draft.

I was nervous about writing this story in this way when I first started out. I usually at least have an idea of where a book is going. I don’t do extensive outlines, or scene mapping, like some writers do, but I almost always have a beginning, a middle, and an end. With this one, what I have is a story that is unfolding as I type, and an enjoyment of the process that I haven’t felt in quite some time.

I call that a good day.

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