So, what’s it like to write without a roadmap? I’ll let you know when I arrive at my destination. For now, I am on a novel-writing journey that is progressing without any real idea of where I am headed or how I will get there.
No doubt, there are many writers who meticulously plot and plan an outline before they even pen that first, most important line. And many know the ending of their story before they have even considered its start.
Certainly there is something to be said for such planning. It allows for a level of momentum that can push a narrative forward without much delay. And it can give the writer confidence in knowing the direction the story will take. Outlining also gives the writer a chance to fully delve into developing her characters and reduces timeline missteps.
But, I am convinced there is are advantages to starting with a mere idea or feeling and going from there. It could be the picture of a dark, heavy sky that evokes a memory of a rainy day that gets you rolling. Or simply a moment of dread and anticipation. Whatever it is, no matter how small or insignificant, it can be the makings of a story.
What happens from there is a matter of closing your eyes and watching the story unfold itself to you. Let it whisper its secrets. Invite it into your dreams. Don’t be afraid to let the story and its characters guide you. It can be wonderfully authentic that way and turn the writing process into something that challenges and thrills you all at once. That’s the magic of words, after all.
Kerri S. Mabee