After three attempts at starting the Apartment Complex story, I think I finally have it under control. I’ve nailed down the introduction of the characters, established the setting, and started them down Main Plot Line Boulevard.
That was a hell of a lot tougher than I expected. Now for the fun part of writing the rest of it!
In retrospect, I don’t think I had as much of a problem when I was more of a pantser writer. Probably because I didn’t really pay too much attention to such things as weak openings and so on. I just riffed until I got the hang of it and fixed it later. I’ve been trying to move away from that ever since, and let me tell you, it’s harder than it sounds. I’m learning to trust my instincts more, instead of freaking out and getting nowhere.
The irony is that this is exactly what my characters are going through as well. One of the biggest themes of this story is learning to trust someone completely and without any second-guessing. In writing this story so far, I’ve been fighting the Writer Demon — you know the one, the ‘OH GOD THIS IS ALL CRAP’ Demon that wants you to purge all these words and take up golf or something. But I’ve also been fighting it with self-trust. I believe in the story, I know I’ve built up a strong plot and strong characters, so all I need to do is shut that demon down and forge ahead.
This is what I mean by writing without a net. For me it used to mean writing in my old pantsing ways, but now it’s about moving forward despite all my doubts and worries. It’s about trusting that I’ll pull this off, one way or another, and I’ll be proud of the result.
It’s stressful as hell sometimes, but the payoff is almost always worth it.