a new approach

There is something wrong with the way I approach writing stories.

Or… maybe it’s something wrong with the way I approach storytelling. The problem isn’t with the words exactly, it’s with the structure – or lack thereof – in what I’m writing.

I’m not sure if I’m alone in this – probably not – but when I sit down to start writing, I don’t have a ‘story’ in mind. No conflict, no antagonist. When I sit down to write, what I have is a setting I love, and a tone I want to achieve, and a character. And I splatter them on the page and combine them in various ways, and I wait to see what comes out.

I often find it very difficult to finish stories, which is very probably due to the fact I don’t have a specific journey in mind for the character, be it internal or external. And when I do finish them, I often find that things are done to my character, rather than her doing the things.

My system isn’t a complete failure. I have produced two stories that I’m reasonably proud of. But that’s not a great batting average, and neither has been published yet, so I clearly do still have work to do.

So structure is the thing I’m thinking about now. I’m wondering if it might not be a bad idea to just build outlines for a while, one after another, and get some practice. Learn how to do it properly. Build the correct writing muscles and makes some new habits. So to that end, I’m trolling books and internet sites to try and learn more about the nuts and bolts.