Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trust Fall (Endings -- Monthly Theme -- Sarah Dooley)

There's a crossroad I come to when writing, about a third of the way through each first draft. It happens every time, but somehow it always catches me by surprise. It's that point when my plan for the book -- the plan I've had in mind the whole time, the plan I've trusted to get me this far, the plan I thought all my foreshadowing and hint-dropping was leading up to -- gets thrown out the window. And in its place lies the rest of the unwritten novel, blank and lost in fog, swirling with uncertainty -- and promise.

That's the point when I have to ask myself: who is writing this book, me or this character I thought was mine?

Certainly, I am in control of plenty when it comes to writing. When I write. Whether I write. What and who and where I choose to write about. But there is this wonderful rush of story that takes over when the timing is just right, and I get swept up in this new adventure that doesn't feel like it's of my own choosing.

I do have a choice: do I stick to my notes, my plans, all the things I thought this book was leading up to?

Or do I write just a little way down the new path? Just to see what's around the next bend? After all, if I don't like it, I can always turn around, retrace my steps back to the path I've marked, continue on my original course.

The paths spill ahead through the pages, taking me past landmarks that start to seem familiar. A touch of character development that wormed its way into Chapter Three suddenly makes sense in Chapter Seventeen. A setting I spent too many paragraphs on, just for the sheer joy of walking around in it, suddenly comes back into play, already designed and waiting for this scene I didn't know was coming.

Who is writing this book? Is it me? Or is it the writer I can be, the one who sneaks out when I turn off my worries and let the writing take over?

It's a question I love getting to ask again and again.


  1. YES. Chasing the writer I can be. That's IT.

  2. I love the idea of letting yourself write just a little down the new path! Great post, Sarah!