Every artist creates differently. I wonder how many writers feel as if they can’t see the forest for the trees. Maybe that is something that plaques discovery writers more than plotters. For those writers who plot out their story, have notes for each chapter and/or each scene, it makes sense that they see the story from a macro perspective. And since I’m a discovery writer who records what she sees on the movie screen in her head, maybe that’s why my view is very tiny.
I wondered about this today. With the publication of the math workbook, Building Fluency: Math Practice, I’ve turned all of my attention to completing what started out as a short story and has grown to a novella. The Secret Gift is almost done. I know, I think, what comes next and how it ends, but this is only because I’ve thought about the story and worked sporadically on it for nine months. But also know my process.
It makes sense to me that because I don’t know what happens until it happens, my view of the story is very small. Because I don’t outline, I don’t know the big picture, like the subplots or major turning points, or even how the story ends until I get close to the final scene. I have tried outlining a story. I kept it short, more like notes of what might happen. And then I didn’t feel like writing it! To me, all the “discovery” was taken away. Experts say that if a writer doesn’t outline, then rewrites are horrendous, writer’s block happens because we don’t know what happens next in the story, or we write ourselves into a corner. For me, creating that outline made the story over for me. I didn’t see the need to write it. This differs from the few times I’ve made notes about scenes to come because I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with the movie playing in my head. And following those notes took some discipline!
Maybe as long as I’m curious about my process, I’ll continue to create. I’m thinking the chunks of time I have over the next few days might be enough to finish the first draft of this story. If I can keep the momentum going, I can roll through the steps to publishing it as I fit in the next project. Unlike my writing, my scheduling is hyperopic. I can see, on paper, where and how projects can get done. Of course, there’s also reality. What is your view when you work on a project? Do you see the details or the big picture?