“And the story begins to materialize, and another thing is happening, which is that you are learning what you aren’t writing, and this is helping you to find out what you are writing.”
There is something so freeing in this concept. To know what you AREN’T writing. To know what your story is not about. I have been watching some characters lately and it’s been really interesting to see how my character relates and doesn’t relate to those around me. I am daily understanding a bit more of the direction my story is going by seeing where it is not going.
My character will not:
be at the bars every weekend, own a cat, wear a leopard print jacket, drive a mini van, wear sparkly things, get into politics, or cars or video games. My character will not love summer or wicker or Vera Bradley. Vodka tonics, feta cheese or mushrooms will not show up in her kitchen. She will not prefer her hair long and not pick bottled water over tap. Florida or India will not be on her list of places to visit. She will not be caught wearing khakis or those damn bubble dresses or shiny things. She will not get stressed out in traffic or in a long line or when the store is out of what she wants. She will not be moody or a blonde or anorexic. Bright eyeshadow will not be on her lids, nor will bright polish be on her nails.
As people and things get edited out of the story, the direction and plot become more clear and concise. There is less time wasted and attention can be focused on the story in which the character was made to tell. The beauty in all of this, as this wonderful book I am reading tells us, is that we don’t know where our character is going. It is only then, as we being the writing process and delve into who our character is and isn’t, that we are on our way to having a story. This was all too serious and confusing but it makes sense in my head.