Say that you’ve created a main character or two that you love and then start to follow their story. That story leads you to new characters you love every bit as much, and you delight in watching them start to interact with the main characters. Then the story takes an unexpected turn that you can’t resist, leading into new settings and new drama that absolutely excite you.
And then you realize you haven’t written anything about your main character for sixty pages, and your story is now focused on a character your readers didn’t meet until 100 pages in. So you try to pull it all together into a single storyline, and the only way to do that is through some serious deus ex machina manipulation. Then you realize that following your story has led you right off into the middle of the woods.
If you look around and find yourself lost, how do you find the breadcrumbs to lead you back out?
The first step is understanding how you got there. Every writer approaches their novel differently, and there’s no such thing as a wrong approach. But if you are the kind of writer who prefers to launch into a story with no idea how it will end, then getting lost in the woods is an occupational hazard. I know because I’ve had several clients come to me to help them find their way home. [Read more…]