I continued to write the words on paper. The first part of the story was taking shape. But, as always, I hit a wall. I was not sure how to create space to “pace” the story. Pace is very important when directing the reader through the story. Movies and television use this to greater (and sometimes lesser) effect. Then, out of the blue, during a discussion with Keith, we had a breakthrough. I needed to pace the story with the occasional break. So, I used a black page. Nothing else. Just a black page. Keith, wisely, said “NOPE.” A black page would not only confuse the reader, it would be a waste of space. So, after a good deal of back and forth, we came up with a “device” (a contrivance that helps tell the story that resides ‘outside’ the story) to break the action. Each ‘break’, or interstitial, would reveal a small piece of a photograph that would give a bit of a clue to the reader about a very important plot point. This is a promise to the reader that this secret would eventually be revealed.
This led to the end of the story, WELL BEFORE I was ready to write the ending. It came out in a flood. (When this sort of thing happens, or “hits”, you MUST stop whatever you are doing and get it down on paper. Immediately. NEVER trust your memory) Now, this is a mystery. Knowing the ending allowed me to create all the clues and misdirection in the earlier parts of the story. This was a big moment.
“Hits” like these don’t happen often and some writers, beginning writers, tend to want to wait for those moments, like waiting for a muse to whisper in their ear. It really doesn’t work like that. Sometimes you have to kick it loose by baring down and writing. Anything. Ideas form and fade and you have to edit and edit until a clear picture forms and propels your story forward.
That being said, don’t be afraid to edit. We’ll get into that next time.
NEXT – Kill the Baby