I’ve never really had problems starting a story.
Countless opening scenes have played through my head in vivid detail. I can smell the vinyl of a car’s dashboard in the heat, I can feel my body move as an explosion goes off, and I can converse directly to the characters that happen to appear in a scene.
And for a while, this was enough. Once I got those few couple of hundreds of words on paper, the story would have enough momentum to keep slugging on forward.
When I was in Year 10 I saved up money from my part time job (delivering advertising material) and with a little help from my parents, I bought a Casio Cassiopeia palm-top PC.
It was my prized possession, and it was probably the first real “gadget” I owned. In fact, the reason I am typing this post on a Slate PC tethered to a wireless hotspot is probably because I am still chasing that elusive first high of gadget ownership.
One of the things that I did end up doing, however, was writing what would probably count as my first “real” bit of writing. Keeping in mind that this was at a time before the word “Fan Fiction” was popular, and also when a 36.6kbps modem was beyond the reach of most mortals, please don’t hate me when I say that it was essentially a Warhammer 40k FanFic.
It clocked up at about 120 pages, however due to the limited capacity for communications at that time, it never left the Cassiopeia’s LCD screen (which is probably for the best).
Anyway, I kept on using my stories’ momentum to bash away at keys for about a decade, never once stopping to pre-plan a “plot”.
And then I met Aura.
Aura is my antithesis when it comes to writing. He won’t put a pen to paper unless he knows exactly what he’s going to write. Every twist and turn is contemplated and planned, and every single word of his prose bears a weight that I had never experienced before. A22 is also pretty much the same.
One of the many sources of tension in KS was this conundrum. I would quite often sit down and bash out a few thousand words with little more than a song lyric in my head. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go, but that could (and often did) change half-way through a scene as the scenario unfolded in my mind.
In short, I was fast and they were slow. I was a cowboy and they were bureaucrats. But I was also willing to learn, and after scrapping the second Hanako path, I tried doing it “their” way. I wrote out a scene-by-scene set of notes, detailing the whole story. And in the end, everyone was happier for it.
But I’ve found that I’ve lost a bit of the momentum that I used to have. Right now I have a great image in my head of the start of a new story. I have no idea who the characters are, what motivates them, or what they are about to do. In the past, I would have run with this. But I am having trouble now. I want to know more about the story before I start bashing keys. Questions that never bothered me, like “How long should I aim to make this?” are plaguing me. The ghost of KS is holding me back a little. I’m starting to think like a “proper” writer… I just happen to have “proper” writer’s block.
I think, however, that this may end up being a good thing. Contrary to what I’ve written above I have actually done pre-work on some of the stuff I’ve written; even if it’s only in my head. Usually, it just happens to follow after I’ve started writing.
So, if I can get some time in the next few weeks, I might try and dive into that introduction that I have in my head and see where it takes me. No more pondering in the shower about who the people are, or what their goals are, so long as they eventually have a story worth telling.
And if I can dig up any more old works I’ll read and post them as well for motivation.