Saturday I started writing a new book. (This is not a new YA, instead it’s another literary fiction like the platypus novel, which is still with agents. Because the lit fic market is slower and smaller, it takes even longer to hear back than YA.) This new story had been pinging around in my head for more than a year. But I’d never started writing it because I couldn’t figure out who the story belonged to. I knew the incident that set everything in motion, but which of the characters was going to narrate? I played with thoughts of multiple narrators, but it didn’t feel right. So, I let the story stew. And stew.
Then, one day, the final scene in the novel popped into my head. When it did, everything fell into place. I knew the story arc. I knew the narrator. And the scenes started writing themselves—it was like watching short movie scenes in my mind.
At this point, I always feel less like a writer and more like an amanuensis. It’s as if I’m simply transcribing the story that the characters are showing/telling me. Though that doesn’t mean I’m removed from the situation. I always feel their pain and suffering. And it’s like a stone hanging on my heart.
And as much as I might like to ignore the story, I’m compelled to put it on paper, even though part of me cringes at the thought of going through the darkness with the characters. But Saturday, I opened a blank document. It’s a weird feeling, staring at that blank page. Knowing that once you start, you’re committed to that novel for the next year or two. But I started writing. I put 500 words into that document, gave it a title, and made the characters a promise to tell their story. Because that’s what writers do.