Going through the fog

Today I drove to work. I do that regularly, but this time there was quite a lot of fog around, and the early hour made it appear even heavier than it actually was.

I could not help but feel that going through the fog is a bit like writing. Especially when you write freely, without a real fleshed-out plan.

The area directly around you is visible. You have a reasonable idea what you have, what you can write about. It is what you see without straining your eyes. Further away there are shapes. Some you recognise, like trees, buildings, lamp-posts. The fog however eats up their exact shape, so they may have changed since you last saw them. Well, they probably haven’t. Although… did the house on the corner really look like that yesterday?

Going further away in the fog there are still shapes, shadows really. Things that probably belong there, but… what are they? What were they? What will they turn into? The mist shrouds their real nature, there is promise in these shapes, potential. And potential threat. Will they make life good, or are they there to ruin the story?

And then there is the material you can’t see. It is hidden behind the thick layers of low cloud and fog. You know it’s out there, waiting to be discovered, to be used, to appear and do whatever it can to and in your story. You can only find it when you “boldly go into the fog, where no author has gone before“, and seek out everything that is there, waiting for you. And yes, at times that can be a bit scary, when you go out on a limb into a realm you’ve never set foot before. There may be rock or solid ground, but you can also find yourself in quicksand.

This way, going through the fog is like writing for me. Exciting, and full of promises. Some of which aren’t kept. And some I never saw coming.


3 Responses to Going through the fog

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    There are so many times I’ve wished I was a plotter and all I had to do once I had my plot in mind was fill in the blanks but none of my books have been like that in fact the last one I got lost in ‘the fog’ and ended up somewhere I never expected. It was a worthwhile place to end up but it’s scary not knowing where you’re going. At the end you look back at the choices you made along the way and they seem the most obvious and natural but at the time…

    • Paul Kater says:

      Oh yes, I recognise that so well, Jim. It happened a few times with Hilda’s 6th story. I really stared at the story and wondered what had happened to get me there. I had no intention of “that”, but it was there.

      I once tried plotting things out and “fill in the blanks” as you put it, but that did not work for me. I kept going astray, sailing away from the plot and getting frustrated over that. In the end I threw the plot list into the fog (it probably hit the quicksand) and went the other way.

      The fog’s become my (sometimes scary, sometimes intimidating) friend.

  2. SGM (Plumps) says:

    I think that says it all … that nails it as it sometimes is. Best descrption of the process I’ve come across so far ;)

    Thanks for being creative and keeping up the writing spirit.

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