A crack in the narrative–that’s how Annie Dilliard explains a sudden stop in the flow of writing a novel. I’ve been tottling along, riding this really fast-paced plot of the fourth novel, cementing in details and sweeping away the extranious, when I realized Friday the flow had stopped. I got off track in the plot, putting too much focus on a part of the story that helped build the story world (my fictional stand-in for Fouquet versus Louis). Now, because of my man in the iron mask and all the excitement that generates, the other has become really, really secondary.
In plain language, that means cutting scenes, writing new scenes, and rearranging existing scenes. It means tearing up the road I’d been cruising along because all of a sudden it stops being smooth to read. I take the reader down a side path.
At least I know it. It’s just so interesting how stories take on a life of their own, and how a writer, thinking there are certain things that “should/must” go in, can be so wrong. That’s the magic of writing, that life that comes into a story both in character and plot. My job is to keep the story alive, pulsing strongly so that the reader can ride the wave all the way to the end. It’s to get out of my own way. I have be ruthless with months of work. Why did I write them in the first place, if I was just going to cut them later?
It seems to be the only way to get here, where I am in the novel now, with a vigorous story in my hands. What fun to have made all these characters in the history books come alive.