Yesterday was an excellent writing session. I walked away still writing in my mind. I’d reached a natural ending point for the chapter, but was then left mulling, what happens next? Meanwhile, I had other chapters in mind to write. Most of them were bridges, pivots, and place-holders.
Bridges, pivots, and place-holders are my terms. Someone in literature has probably developed more formal terms, but it’s how I see it, and I go with it. Action scenes often come in flashes, and I write them fast, to capture the lightning. Then they’re edited.
They’re not linear, though, and they’re often not connected to the main body of action at that point. That’s where a bridge or a pivot comes into play. A bridge links two or more action scenes; a pivot turn from one course of activity (or thought, or string of events) to another.
Then there is the place-holder. That’s a poor name for it. This piece of the novel is explanatory material, as exposition, dialogue, of stream of thought, for what has happened, and what the characters think is going to happen. My characters can’t be trusted in this regard. Some are like me, and try to analyze what’s happened to this point and predict what will happen next, but they’re woefully under-informed, so it’s garbage-in, garbage-out.
As I walked after writing yesterday, an audacious twist struck me. It so surprised me, I laughed out loud as I walked along the street. The energy of the idea made me walk faster as the flash scene developed, and then the structures of the pivot, bridge and place-holder scenes jumped into being. By the time I sat down with my coffee to write this morning, I just needed to recall what I wrote in my head on the previous day. The biggest challenge of today’s writing session was keeping up. I’m a fast typist, but not fast enough to keep up with thinking.
Again, I ended up spent, in a good way. I’d stopped at a natural point once again, but a lot of words and scenes remained to be written that I’d already written in my head.
I love it when this happens, but it’s not always like this. I take advantage of it as I can. Eventually, knowing myself and my writing habits, I’ll reach a point that I won’t really know what to write. Then I’ll walk away to think about it. I’ll hopefully begin writing in my head again, because lightning often does strike more than once. If not, I’ll read and edit what I’ve already written. That usually triggers a natural flow of more words.
Meanwhile, the sessions of the last two days are a little different than usual. I’m reaching the end of the novel, and the series. That awareness causes a different tension in the writing sessions as I actively ask myself, is this really going to be the end? Will the ending work?
In such sessions, my thinking and writing focus narrows and sharpens. Even as I do that, other potentials for this series hang on the horizon, because that’s the nature of creativity and my writing process. Ideas rarely stand alone. It’s more like the classic process of thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad.
I’m careful not to look too closely at what’s on the horizon right now. Number one, I want to finish and publish this series of four books. Number two, other projects are in the wings.
This one must be completed so I can go on to them. I’m done writing like crazy, at least for today.