I’ve never written a novel, but I have figured out that you can’t do it all at once. So I’ve been working at how to break it down, and especially how to know enough that I can keep writing on days when I can’t stop and remember the whole book.
I’ve figured out enough of the books’s structure that I see a way to the first big crisis.
1. Set up
2. Get more characters/gather team during which our heroes have 2 problems they must resolve with varying degrees of success.
3. Get to the apparent goal.
That’s basically the first act as I see it today. And I think I know enough to write it, though I have SO much to make up still. Like more characters. And names. Names are at least as hard in writing as they are in computer science.
In all the news coverage of the Cleveland kidnappings, I was most struck by Amanda Berry’s immense courage in initiating an escape. I imagined the feeling she had in choosing that action was a much scarier version of a feeling I had 41 years ago. I am always fascinated by the discrete moments when things change — for example, that split second when a decision becomes irrevocable.
Listening to the news coverage of the story on NPR I realized that after all these years I had edited the telling my own kidnapping down to a few facts, a shorthand. I no longer told the full story of what had happened to me. Suddenly, it was important to do my own story justice. Plus, I’ve had a hankering to learn more about storytelling since I heard a fabulous storyteller reenacting the Battle of Britain at the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth. I decided then and there, in the ramp metering queue for I-5, to find and take a storytelling class.
The very next day I got an email from ComedySportz about a new storytelling class that was starting, and I was available for all the class dates and for the final performance. Only a little stunned by the swiftness with which God and the universe had responded to my decision, I signed up. With the help of my classmates and teacher, the wonderful Kelley Tyner McAllister, I told my story properly.