in the brain vs on the page continued


Earlier, I posted about the significance of putting the words on the page–that that is when a story comes to life (at least according to “Stranger Than Fiction”).

I can imagine the ending of a story most of the time–not ALL of the time, but most of the time, I know the ending of a story as I begin writing one.

But it’s only recently that I decided to write the ending of my novel. I’d pictured it in my mind for quite some time now, more than a year, less than three (yes, I’ve been working on this blasted thing for three years and haven’t gotten through an entire draft, but I have started writing the thing over three times).

However, I never actually wrote the ending. It’s as if the act were taboo or something. Or kind of futile, knowing that whatever I wrote on the page for the ending would definitely not stand the test of time and subsequent drafts.  Why bother, right?  Somehow I got it into my head that a novel had to be written chronologically. I’d certainly drafted a rough plot outline, and maybe I felt compelled to follow it. Regardless, the ending of my novel was in my head but the words were not on the page.

Hrm, I wondered.  What if I wrote the ending…?

Seeing as how novel writing is a lot about exploration, that notion stuck with me.

So–I started writing the ending. I know the ending will eventually change, but getting the image onto the page has been an interesting and liberating act. Once I started WRITING the ending, it begged for details (everything from what a desk looked like, the color of the walls, the smell of an apartment, to all the facets of characters), and for action, and dialogue…and it opened up more questions (questions are a good thing in novel writing). Lots of questions.

Which then opened up more ideas in my head, and things to address in the middle of the novel.  The middle is where I, like many novel writers, am fumbling around.

So yes–there’s a difference, I’ve discovered…between a story in the brain, and words on the page. Like intention versus execution. A large ravine, and things transform when you make the leap.

Oh and p.s. It’s not like I’m actually getting words on the page this week. I didn’t get any writing done today, even though it was my writing day. All I did was space out and stare at the wall. Apparently, I was exhausted and needed the rest. I wish I could save my energy for writing somehow, instead of using my energy up at work.  Or…for the blog (even though it’s much easier to blog than to write fiction–blogging is driven by ME…and my novel is driven by the characters–characters who don’t always want to come out to play with my imagination, it seems).  😛



Filed under The Novel, Writing

2 responses to “in the brain vs on the page continued

  1. This is so cool. Yes, writing creates more writing, doesn’t it? Today is my day to write a little something… I’ll get to it right after I eat my lunch in 5 minutes.

  2. j

    hi jadepark! i stumbled onto your blog quite accidentally, after googling for a copy of bullet in the brain (i’ve only recently read it, and i love it. it’s a most surprisingly beautiful short story). I also like your insights about the movie stranger than fiction. it’s also one of my favorite movies.=)

    about writing endings.. it’s a really good technique for me. i dont claim to be a writer, but sometimes i try to be. and on those days i often do have the ending in mind, and no idea where to start. i’ve tried writing endings first more than once, and you’re right, they beg for the rest of details, and they make the words flow by themselves. sometimes they end up becoming the beginnings instead, or the middle, and the story completes an arc you never imagined in the first place. =)

    anyway, just a nod to say, i like your blog about writing. =)

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