that magic feeling

Scenes don’t stand alone in books.  They fit, they move, they’re living parts of the organism that is a book.  Ideally.

But for them to work like that requires vision and a sense of the larger story, of the whole.  When I started writing, they just popped onto the page without much of that vision-thing going on.  Sure, it required creativity, commitment and work, and it wasn’t until about 70 pages that my REAL story reveal itself to me. 

As soon as it did, it became clear that I’d be hacking out scenes that were great but didn’t belong in this story.  Anything that doesn’t strengthen the story risks weakening it. 

Well, once I sensed my real story, it became much easier to write.  The scenes fit and they had direction. 

But then again came a point where I felt that I couldn’t move forward but sloggily, because the scenes didn’t fit.  Oh yeah, I could get a scene to fit the ones before, sure.  But they didn’t fit the future.  I knew they weren’t connecting the past to an intrinsic whole.  They didn’t have integrity.  They didn’t have vision.

That was the squelchy, muddy bit I had a couple of weeks ago.  I’d hit the middle of the book.

After a hard period where I tried a bunch of different methods, finally it came back.  The vision, so obscured and hazy and just a mite too ungraspable, suddenly returned.  🙂 

Does that mean I know every turn before I take it?  Nope.  But the integrity has returned.  Scenes fit front and back, and as I clarify certain questions from earlier in the book, my current situation “on the ground” becomes clearer and clearer, and the possible future paths more distinct and urgent.

Relief.  Relief, to be facing urgency again.  Relief to feel compelling dark corners again.  Relief to feel integrity again.  Relief.

And that sort of mad euphoria that is fear and anticipation while writing.  🙂  I’ve not lost that magic feeling.  🙂

On the Road, Republic of Georgia

On the Road, Republic of Georgia


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. I've worked in international development, social justice and democracy work, and inclusivity training both domestically and overseas. I have served in Peace Corps, where I experienced my first Russian invasion, after which I volunteered with refugees and mentored youth. I vacation climbing minarets and mountains, as well as exploring theaters, museums and parks. Here in New York, I produce short films, direct short plays, and write.
This entry was posted in fiction, finding your own way, first drafts, integrity, scenes, writing, writing update and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to that magic feeling

  1. ralfast says:

    I hate scene derailment. Nice scene, wrong time or for that matter wrong book. Happens to all of us. Glad to know you’re back on track.

  2. Yarnspnr says:

    Ah yes, scenes. That’s how Myth began. I remember those unconnected scenes with their beginnings, middles, and ends. They sat there before me like a jigsaw puzzle, beckoning me to piece them together. How I tried to fit this one with that one only to realize that I’d forced the two together and they didn’t fit right. Working, working, long into the night. This one, no, that one. After hours of picking and prodding, a frame lay before me. Soon, inner pieces started falling in place. Lo and behold! A chapter completed in one quarter of the puzzle! Now back to the this and thats that made up a second chapter! And so it goes. Scenes!

  3. Yeah! I knew you’d work it out, Sput. 🙂

    BIC and patience. Somehow it all comes together when you least expect it!

    The middle of the novel is always my greatest nemesis.

    • sputnitsa says:

      Hahaha!!! (this would be delighted laughter)

      THANK YOU. 🙂 🙂 🙂 And I have to say again, those two books you recommended were SO useful. (And so good; you’ve added new authors to my roster.) I really appreciate it, as well as your faith and encouragement. 🙂

      It totally does come together suddenly–if you put the work in! 🙂 Reminds me of a saying of Edison’s I read (and I paraphrase): “A lot of people don’t recognize opportunity because it comes dressed in overalls and goes by the name of ‘work.'” 🙂

      And I’m so stunned to hear the middle is your nemesis…because your writing is SO DAYUM GOOD I can’t imagine that point beforehand when it wasn’t all there, connected and brilliant. 🙂

  4. THANK YOU! That means a lot to me. 🙂

    But honestly, as I’ve told you before, if you only saw my first drafts. .. (which you, nor anyone else ever shall! ahem)

    Anyhow, hope the Muse continues to reward your hard work!

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