Monday, April 27, 2009

The Gap

Have you ever experienced "The Gap"?

This is what it looks like.

You came up with a story idea say a month ago. You quickly jotted down a few lines about it. You thought about it every now and then. After a while, you felt that you were ready to sit down to work on it. You finished the first paragraph and decided to stop and admire your first effort. Then you saw a gap as wide as from earth to the moon appeared in that paragraph.

From your note, the story was supposed to be about a teenage boy who wants to be a painter. Your first paragraph showed a 30+ years old man waking up dreaming of his dead brother!

So far almost every stories that I wrote I had to deal with "The Gap".

The fun part I got from "The Gap" is the many A-Ha moments when I realize why a character say or do some specific things. It’s like making new friends in the town of my choice. And then followed by the most exquisite sensation when I discover what the story is about or what I call the soul of the story. However, this all comes with a price.

Because I have no plan and pre-knowledge of the story, when I start writing, I find myself stopping almost at every sentence to ask myself what happens next. By working like this, not only I’m writing at snail pace, headache and exhaustion are the common side-effects following each writing session.

I’ve tried to do a planning or follow tightly to the initial notes. But "The Gap" always comes up and the story demands to be written differently. That’s why I seldom think about the story before and after the writing session. No matter how much I have worked out before the actual writing, it changes during the writing process.

It is one thing to trust the process and learn about what works for you. It is another trying to improve it. I’m wondering if:

- there are ways to fill up The Gap or
- I get a bridge somewhere so the crossing is much more easier or
- I just have to bite the bullet and accept that this is how I work

Can anyone give me some advice?

4 comments:

megg said...

Just go with it! When I am writing and the story seems to be taking itself over I tend to open a new window on the computer and just let it come out. That way I can cut and paste back into the original story if I want to, or just use it later on. In my book I had the whole last scene written like that. Don't fight it when it flows, it might be amazing!

Sarah said...

Yup - just go with the flow - the characters will take on a life of their own anyway - might as well go with it from the start!!!
Great post! Sarah

laughingwolf said...

the ladies nailed it, j... and when you're stuck, ask the characters what THEY want to happen next...

for my 55ers [minis] i started with the tale and looked for a graphic; then found using graphics as prompts a whole lot easier to focus

Hybrid J said...

Hi Megg, Sarah & Laughing Wolf,

Appreciate all your comments and they were what I expected. I knew I have to be patience and follow the story. I used to say to people that my writing is not about me. It is all about them - the STORIES. I guess I just need some affirmation from fellow writers and creatives. Thanks heaps! lol :)