Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day

Our city is crazy, when it comes to winter weather. At the slightest chance of snow, schools shut down, grocery stores are ransacked, and traffic dies away.

But today the predictions came true; we do have some ice out there. True, it's less than an inch, but ice is ice. My plans for the day - which included spending most of the day out - were rearranged at about 8:00 this morning.

I wasn't very upset. To have a day freed suddenly like that is like having someone hand you a lovely gift; roughly 12 unexpected free hours.

I chose to spend at huge chunk of that writing.

I haven't work on my story in ages. I purposely set it aside, to marinate. You story writers know what I mean, don't you? Sometimes a story just isn't ready. This one has been cooking for over a year, and I was starting to think it would never turn golden brown around the edges, but that familiar tingle in my fingers is beginning; that itch for a pencil and keyboard - that day-dream feeling of being in another world is just beyond the outer edges of my mind. It has begun.

I got a lot done this morning, but a certain point keeps stumping me. How to begin?

That's it; how to begin. The first three chapters of a book have always been my weak point. My weak, weak, weak point. Just show me the characters in trouble, then I'll get them out! Getting them into trouble has always been hard.

I know all the popular solutions; begin with action. Try dialogue. Try a narrative bit.

You don't understand. I don't just need to know how to start the scene. I need the scene!

My outline is written...sorta. I've gone with the looser "Beginning, Middle, Ending" framework, instead of a detailed point-by-point guideline this time. My Middle and Ending are filled with lovely scenes, but my Beginning remains sketchy.

What do you do when you need a plot to form? What strikes your creative spark into full flame? Or are you one of those blessed creatures who always has a storyline for any character or situation, and can make up an ending for every story you've ever read? (I always disliked those assignments, "finish this story..." I guess I should be glad they never were, "begin this story..."!)

As a side note, which do you prefer; A-B-C outlines, or the looser three-part story form of an outline? I've always preferred the more detailed one myself, but this story is creating a lot of firsts!