Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Dozen Doors - Which One is Right

At the beginning of a story, I'm usually pretty good at picking the first path.  I know without a doubt which way to head into the maze that is a new book.  I don't usually get lost until the first crossroads, and then the real fun begins.  This time, though, I'm stumped as to where exactly I should begin this new manuscript.  Standing at the starting point is so much easier when you have one door to enter.  This new story has so many ways it could begin and so many points I could focus on first, that it's like standing in  front of a dozen doors.  And I'm damned if I can tell which one is right.

About a year ago, I opened one of the doors and strolled down the path for a little ways.  I knew where I was going, but the path felt wrong.  I tried another door and immediately got lost.  I've picked a new door, and the path ahead feels right, but after so many miscues, I'm doubting my ability to find the trail this time out.

The last time out - when I began DLN - I obviously picked the wrong trail.  I got all the way to end before I realized I didn't actually make it to the right destination.  This lead to me starting all over and doing it again - and getting it wrong again.  I hit the right path on the third try, but I'm a little hestitant to go through the three tries again.  I don't want to do all that extra work.  I mean, I will if I have to, but it was so much easier when I knew which door to pick on the first try.

Anyway, I've got my water bottle and my compass.  I've started along this new path and so far, it's feeling right.  I might make a few missteps along the way, but that's par for this obstacle course.  Wish me luck.  And if I get totally lost, someone send a search party.  ;o)

Does this happen to you?  How do you know when you've started your story at the right place?  And how do you determine what's the right path for your manuscript to take?

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic analogy, B.E.! I, too, usually start off with a clear destination - and on the right path. But along the way, those forks in the road always trip me up and I end up playing the 'what if' as I traipse along the path I choose (what if I had taken that other path?). I have a difficult time with decision making in real life (don't get me started on my inability to order from a menu - always looking at other people's orders and wishing I could change mine)!

    I know you're a pantser, but is there anyway you could roughly sketch out each path until you get to the one that has "AHA" written all over it? Other than that, I have no suggestions.

    Good luck and let us know if you find the path and how you did it :)