Traveling without a map

Into The Woods — my first gallery sale!

I sort of don’t do plot. Form doesn’t follow function, at least not the way I write. And yet plot seems to happen, connections appear, things work out and come to a satisfying conclusion. I don’t know how it happens, and I can’t explain how it works— it just does.

But I am greatly impressed by writers who plan everything meticulously in advance, although I do wonder if the process allows for spontaneity at all. After all, creative usually equals chaotic (or so my partner tells me), and a writer should always be able to take a little detour from the path if the opportunity presents itself. I can’t imagine sticking so rigidly to an itinerary that you ignore an opportunity: it is the journey, not the exact route, that is important (unless you have a flight to catch).

Likewise, I can’t honestly say that anything in the Da Silva Tales was planned at all. It may seem a little bit bizarre to sit down and write a story without knowing the ending, but that’s just the way it works for me.

You might think from this that I live in a state of complete chaos, and it is certainly true that I try to avoid the kind of timetabled routine my mother kept to. It is also true that in my deadline-driven day job I never ever handed in anything late, so something in me is at least a little organised. (And I shelve my books alphabetically by author, too, but that’s because I have so many I need to have some way of finding a book I want!)

I have come to the conclusion that my subconscious is working its butt off to get me where I need to be. At the moment, I am ghost-writing a story for which I was given the best brief possible: a minimal one. Certain elements had to be included, and the word count was to be 25K. As I wrote, all the elements fell into place to make a coherent whole, and now at around 22.5K everything is all set for the big finish.

In other news, I sold a painting yesterday, my first sale from an exhibition as opposed to commissioned work. People eyed me strangely in the car park as I ran round punching the air and going “Woo-hoo!”


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