Have you ever stopped to wonder how a story makes it to the page? As a reader looking in from the outside, providing you like it, or at least are intrigued by it, you get caught up in the story and its characters, their foibles, thoughts and desires. But does the writer really create the story before your eyes, or does he go along for the ride just like you?
I firmly believe that the writer is in reality nothing more than a glorified reporter. The characters and events unfold before his eyes. All he does is record them for posterity and nudge them down a particular path to see what will happen next.
Every story has a starting point firmly fixed in the writer’s mind. But after that, it’s up to the events to take the writer along for the ride recording the adventures, disappointments, delights, apprehensions etc, etc of any characters involved.
In life we all have a fixed starting point; the time of our birth. Where you go and what you do during your lifetime is governed by a mixture of opportunities, fate, and chance meetings. The same can be said for what unfolds before the writer’s eyes.
In the story, I firmly believe that what happens next is determined by the story’s events, not by what characters say to one another while engaged in mindless chatter. The world they inhabit lays the ground rules for the way they react to it. Chance meetings within that world can and do change the way the stories’ characters relate to one another however. In this instance they may not necessarily be influenced by the events portrayed.
In reality all the writer does is be the very first person to read the story. He goes along for the ride just like you. But unlike you, at least he has some involvement in it by recording it. After all, the characters couldn’t do it for you; they were too busy living it.
I’m busy right now at the beginning of a new science fiction novel’s storyline. Where it will take me over the next several months and who it’s as yet unknown characters will be is anyone’s guess. Only time and patience on my part will tell. Equally, whether or not it will become a Space Opera is an unknown at this moment in time.
Wish me luck, not that I need it; I’ve been here before on more than one occasion…