Follow the Writing Path

Someone recently asked me, “How do you come up with these stories? Do you always know what comes next?”

My answer was to shrug and say, “I have no idea, they just spring into my mind. And no, I have literally no idea what comes next.”

And despite my wishes to the contrary, another aspect of writing for me personally is the non-linear quality of it. I think in what I refer to as “snippets” – little pieces of scenes that are, quite often, completely out of the blue, unrelated to much of anything, and nearly always out of order.

I wish that I could write in order. The vision of it appeals to my obsessive-compulsive side.

But I don’t.

I should be working on War’s End Book 2. Instead, I find myself writing an involved scene in Book SIX of the Chronicles of Liv Rowan. Is now a good time to mention that I haven’t actually written Books 1 – 5 yet?

So how does one get to Book 6 with little or nothing written in the middle?

In the case of the Chronicles of Liv Rowan, I found myself taking a snippet – Great-Aunt Martha’s Car – which I wrote nearly sixteen years ago, and envisioning a very real and detailed storyline. So much so that I have over 38 pages of Notes, plus a half ream of paper dedicated to genealogies, maps, creatures and more.

So I literally have twelve, yes TWELVE, books outlined. Not written, but outlined.

And the other day, as I woke up, I visualized another “snippet” and found the perfect place for it, in Book 6.

I hope to write it out and then get back to work on War’s End. Who knows if I will, but it is my hope.

To sum this post up, I would give the following advice – follow the writing path. Don’t be afraid of going off topic, off book, off project…you know…OFF. Follow where your writing leads you. It may be maddening, it may cause you to wonder just how this will be of use, but follow it anyway. It’s all writing, and all good, in the end.