ha ha ha ha ha,
I knew it wouldn't ALLOW ME just to come up with some guiding, over-riding narrative elements and let me string them together into a story. It's like my story-writing mind stepped in and said, "No, no, no, we can't be having that." I knew it would. And this has proven true.
But before getting there, this dilemma started last night. I had Chapter One 'in the can' as we all know. It was the kind of chapter write-up I'd had in my head for this project for the last few years - a man has to save eight people's lives. This is how the book would start, it was pre-visioned; anticipated for years that this would be the mission. I'd set this up as the basis for the book. I'd (probably) betray it later on with a TWIST or three. It's how I work, self-delusional narrator/narrative. Revelation fiction, in its purest sense. Mind games, on myself and the reader. Bless him.
But it started right away. I sat there, last night, appraising that first chapter, and realised (for the story to begin) that first chapter would have to go. This book had to start in a different place than the one I had prepared for, even with the filth overlay information I'd already added to the basic Stalker concept. The one based on a computer game idea that never was.
I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying the NOVEL COMING ALIVE again like this feeling. This always happens, it's happened with all the books that I've written. I give myself over to 'the world of the book' and eventually it's auto-piloting itself to its own narrative conclusions. Its own story. Don't ask me how this works. I have no idea. I suspect 'osmosis' but NOT channeling. My writing mind starts to 'live within the limited framework of the invented world', and that's all it needs. To start creating. To start defying me, its father. To start 'growing up', developing on its own.
And that first chapter. It was (literally) empty. Empty of all the good stuff a novel needs. I totally rewrote it. 2,500 words later, I'm happier. And chapter two, started this morning, is racing by. And yes, I kept my bargain with myself to co-write REAPER at the same time. That's on chapter two also, though my first chapter there is 'sketchier' than I'd like, it's an opening chapter of a three-book series so it's a little summarisy. And more than a little down-beat. Remember, we're in Return of the Jedi territory where 'all seems lost'.
But it's not. It's found. And that's what happened with STALKER last night, "It found its voice."
MARCH 1st UPDATE: (not counting notes, structure and 'inspirational texts'): I kinda cheated a bit in that I've just finished the fourth chapter, and I've written 'the final scene'. 13,500 words written already. It seems like I may have to physically force myself to get back onto the Reaper novel, currently languishing on chapter three of twenty. But fear not, the biggest development on Reader is the planned inclusion of my Water Planet, Memory Planet, Dream Planet material. Both novels are going quite smoothly, in fact.