From Whence It Came

I’ve been writing a story without thinking about it. A few of you loyal ones have been keeping up with me from Part 1 to Part 7, and now that we’re this deep together, I thought I probably owed you an explanation about what you are reading.

I have a novel waiting for me on my Mac, and it’s been collecting dust and spider webs for almost a year. I spent most of this past year trying to get industry interest in an earlier novel, so far without luck. I began to wonder if I could write anymore, if I had lost the spark, or if the spark was ever there to begin with.

One day I was sitting with my laptop after reading three miserable short stories, and thought I would try my hand at one. But I made a rule before I started. Actually two. The first was I would write without getting in the way. That meant no plot, no editing, no notions about what I would write. The second was to not interject myself into the story. That, to me, meant writing strictly from my muse, or to say it a more sane way, not to think while I was writing.

After each section I would stop, put the computer away and not think about the story again for a week. At times my mind would come up with ideas. I’d throw them away. I didn’t want to know what came next until I wrote it, and every section so far has been a surprise. Surprisingly, the story continued, week to week, with no effort or planning.

And here it is, well, 2/3rds of it. It’s longer than I thought it would be, and I’ve lost some followers along the way. But I’m going to finish this, because I want to see what happens when I don’t try, don’t think, don’t want anything. It may be good, it may be bad, but it’s writing at its very essence.

If you’ve liked anything along the way, or have read any of the “parts” please leave a message or let me know. I have no idea what you see.


14 thoughts on “From Whence It Came

  1. Writer to writer – how do you not put “yourself” in a story you’re writing? You can tell my life story through the characters / plots I write. I wonder how differently my writing would read if I were able to separate.

    • I guess the only way I can explain it is that I have no expectation, and I feel like I’m not controlling the words, pace, or direction, at least not consciously. I simply scribe the words as they come. It’s part of the process that I’ve always felt, only I usually like to get in and plot and revise and think through problem areas. With this story, I really don’t think about it, even when I start typing. Perhaps I’m deceiving myself, but it feels very different to me. Right now, I have no idea what I will write for Part 8.

  2. I think you said it perfectly. You can have an idea about what you want to write before you write it, but as soon as the pen hits the paper (or rather the fingers hit they keyboard) the story is free to mold itself. I remember googling “how to write a short film screenplay” when I first decided that I was going to write a script and then direct it. In almost every link I clicked on it said, “start with the title and build ideas off of it.” So, that is what I tried doing. I started with very literal titles, like “The Boy Under the Stairs” and gradually moved on to more ambiguous titles like, “Innocence”. I NEVER GOT ANYWHERE. I found that once I didn’t put pressure on myself about what I was writing and what I wanted it to turn into, the words flowed effortlessly.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. Every writer has a different approach, and when I write novels they often get so complicated that I have no idea who’s making the stuff up. It’s been an interesting experience, just writing without plotting, thinking, or even having an idea of anything I’d like to write about. I still claim the words, but I have no idea where they come from. I’m hoping, by the end, I’ll have a better idea of what that means.
      Film maker? Screenwriter? I’m off to check out your blog!

      • I think that is what we all hope 🙂 I appreciate your enthusiasm, but don’t get too excited! I only just set up my blog this morning! But soon I hope to really get my blog up and running.

  3. Hi Daniel – I’m eager to read more of your blog. You’ve set up an interesting premise for writing your story. Often I feel my characters hoover over me wherever I go until I finally tell them to get in my office and to stay there until I’m ready to work again. When you mentioned about some followers leaving, often that can be simply a matter of ‘we’ don’t give them the courtesy that we expect of them. We’d like to have their feedback on every post we write yet we don’t make time to read their posts and leave well thought out comments. I believe each of can learn much for each other but the process requires a great deal of time and it depends upon the investment you wish to make. I plan to go back to the beginning to meet your characters and the unfolding of your story. It’s not proper IMO to start with reading Part 7. Sheri

    • Thank you, Sheri. I thought perhaps that since my blog had been stand alone single entries that some had lost patience with a series that didn’t end right away. I’m looking forward to exploring your blog more!

  4. I think time constraints happen, some of us juggle too much. I get more likes than comments and some days are like special fireworks with a lot of readers. Usually when the material is kind of crazy or funny! We all like a little less drama, but I enjoy the power of words, find serious topics and like your posts, too.

  5. I began reading from part 1, and was intrigued. Then life (or death) got in the way for a while and I didn’t get to the posts after number 5.
    Today, I am catching up and have just reached this one, and want you to know I love the way the story is coming out. I find that my own writing is best if I just write and don’t plan much. I love it when I can sit and write a chapter, the story flowing, the characters doing what they do seemingly without my doing anything but record it.
    But I(isn’t there always a ‘but’?) I also lack confidence in myself and my ability to carry on with the story. At those times, I am afraid to let go, to just let it flow. So, the writing goes slowly a lot of the time. But when it flows, it is wonderful.
    I just wish I could make myself do what you are doing, and do it every time I sit down to work on my novel.
    I am going on to the next part of your story now. Thanks for doing this – it gives someone like me heart. 🙂

  6. Only once did I give in to my reader’s request for ‘more’. I enjoyed the experience of creating extra ‘chapters’ but I’m not sure that my readers agreed. I learned a lot. First up, for me, a story is gonna go where it wants to go.
    Almost every story I have posted here has come from a photograph or illustration that triggers something in me. I start to write and a whole lot of details and characters appear and say and do things that I’m only aware of as they happen.
    I love this process and I’m fascinated by the outcomes.
    It is part of what keeps bringing me back to the blank page…… I want to know what happens next!
    Not all of my stories are great, some struggle to be good but that does not really matter. Some I work on and they get better, others are beyond hope, but there is always tomorrow and the next story that demands to be told.
    I’ve also noticed that stories come in clumps. Sometimes five or six in a row, not on the same subject, they just travel in groups.
    Then there are times that nothing inspires me but that does not worry me either because I know that the next story will appear when it needs to…. complete confidence that it will happen.

    At this stage I have read all of your series and the first one stands out, and isn’t that the way it should be? You give us the first pencil lines, get us hooked and then colour in the substance.
    Nicely done.

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