Finding Your Story

   I have found the adage “You gotta know when to hold, know when to fold” very appropriate during my latest writing adventures. I’m busy writing, or rather, was busy writing, a new YA novel. I was in the flow, finding my story, really making great progress – in my opinion – when *sound of brakes squealing* everything came to a halt. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my story anymore. It wasn’t that I didn’t connect with my characters anymore. It wasn’t even that I didn’t know where I wanted the story to go or what I wanted to happen. What stopped me, quite abruptly, was that I realized that a lot of my action and, if I’m going to be honest, a lot of the really interesting storylines was happened in the past. I found myself trying to explain something that had occurred prior to the what I was writing about now. It gave me a headache quite frankly.

I like writing with a general plot in mind and who the characters are, but tend to hash out all the details as I go along. In this way I keep surprising myself and appreciating my story as it unfolds and then correct any inconsistencies when I go back and work on my subsequent drafts. But this time, I got 12,000 words into my story before realizing I had started my story in the wrong place! How aggravating! Not only would I have rework my storyline, but I’d basically have to scrap all that work and time (although I do like to lie to myself and say I’ll still be able to use some of it…ha!).

While this temporary deviation made me lose both work and momentum, I believe that rethinking my story will only make the final product that much better. 🙂

    • hannahkarena
    • March 9th, 2012

    In this situation, I’d probably try and let a lot of what I’d already written stand and start writing around it, chronologically. I’d go write everything that happened before and stick it in the beginning and then pick up where I left off for the middle and the end. If I started editing before I finished writing the whole thing, I’d probably never finish. Good luck as you re-approach your book!

    • Thanks! I think your approach has merit as it’s not always good policy to scratch everything and start over. Hopefully I’ll be able to use what I’ve already written!

  1. I know exactly what you mean.
    Sometimes, just letting your story go for a while will work wonders on the plot once you get back to it. I started this YA novel back in 11th Grade and then just abandoned it only to get back last year.
    I love how much it has developed subconsciously, the whole time…
    Great post!

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