Vision, Near and Far

Crafting any piece of writing larger than a single word — and especially anything as long as a novel, or a series of novels — requires you to look down the road ahead of you and see what’s coming.

Let’s make this a highway metaphor.  You need to know your destination and the major turns along the way, the junctions not to miss.  You need to have the big picture.  You also need to have your eye on the road immediately in front of your bumper, and your hands firmly on the steering wheel.  No matter how well you know the way to San Jose, if you can’t manage to get out of the parking lot, you’ll never reach it.

So too in writing.  If you don’t know the end of your project and its length and its major turns, you’ll write in circles.  This might be fun, but it’s only “exploratory” writing until you figure out what the end point is… and then you can start really writing to it.  And if you don’t know your daily objectives and work to them, you’ll write yourself off the road and into a ditch.  You’ll waste time with unnecessary or problematic scenes.  The art of writing is  having both kinds of vision and seeing how they relate to each other.

If you don’t have one of the two visions you need — what end am I writing to? what do I write today? — try asking yourself explicit questions until you get the visions.  What external foes would be difficult for my protagonist to overcome, and interesting for my readers to hear about?  What can I do to make this romantic subplot stand out from the thousands of romantic subplots my readers have plowed through?  What needs to happen between the page I’m on now and the next major plot point… and what order do those things need to happen in?

About David

I'm a writer. This is my blog.
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