For some time now, I’ve been stuck on P&PP. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts. There are issues with the middle of the story, and its pacing. I have subplots I want to incorporate, but haven’t even been plotted out. Because I haven’t been able to conceptualize the ending, I’ve focused on world building, character creation, and backstory. It feels like I’m going in circles with this story instead of moving forward in developing it.
I can, metaphorically speaking, see the destination, just not reach it. I go around, and around in circles, and with each pass, I get a little closer to the understanding I need to make the story work. It’s frustrating to realize, but sometimes the way forward is a path that spirals inward. There is an understanding I don’t have with regards to storytelling, and this process is opening me up to that understanding. It’s impossible to define what is being learned as it is being learned; you can’t know what it is you don’t know until you know it. I’ve seen other writers go through this process, and I’m certain I have before. Now, though, I’m hyper-aware of this frustrating process.
There have been more than a few “helpful” distractions along the way. Well-intentioned writing advice and apps designed to make writing easy (as if that were possible) along with podcasts or articles on some aspect or element of writing which doesn’t remotely relate to what I should be focusing on. The study of craft and the use of tools are meant to supplement and support to the process of writing, not serve as as a substitute for putting pen to paper. These distractions have proven to be temptations to step out of this difficult spiraling path because it’s easy to convince myself these things will help me make progress. They won’t. Painful as these retreads are, they are necessary.
Though the path from point A to point B might be a spiral rather than a straight line, there is progress in going back over the creative choices I’ve previously made to ensure they were the correct choices for the story. So, while backstory and world building have felt like a substitute for productive writing, I suspect they will prove critical to development. Both of the conclusion of P&PP and of myself as a writer. To find the way forward, I’m creating retro-outline of the story as it is so far. The aim has been to discover the shape of the story, and it’s theme. The hope is that with these critical pieces of information, I can map a path to the conclusion, one that doesn’t have me going in circles.