Writing does not begin until I can see the entire story, even the end. It is a must that I can see how the story ends. You see for me writers are builders, architects if you will. A book starts with an idea, but not all ideas should become books. Not all ideas are story fabric. Some ideas are meant to be stored for a later time, while others require immediate attention. When an idea enters my mind, I first examine if it’s worthy enough to mature into something more. Is it powerful enough? Can it change lives? Is it different? In short, an idea has to be special, like a rare diamond or a spring of water in the desert. Can we want for it? Does it make us hunger? Does it make us thirst? Not only is it a nice idea, but is it necessary? For me, it has to be something so powerful that it has the potential to grow; an idea that is without potential to grow is not an idea that is fit to become a book.
When I have an idea that is worthy, the writing doesn’t begin just yet. I mean sure, there’s a paragraph here, a sentence there, a potential character name somewhere over there. Lots of things can change as I am seeking to stretch the idea into something more; to mold it into something tangible. The title may change, the name of the characters may change, the setting, plot. I am picking out pieces and adding some. I am changing colors and creating lives. I am an examiner of bricks and mortar to see what fits. Restoring and conserving ideas, coming up with new ways to use them. It is even possible that I may begin to sketch out a stretch of chapters. However, the writing has not yet begun. It does not yet begin because I cannot see the entire work on the page, just shades of pencil and splashes of ink but there’s no real story there. No, words on a page does not mean I have written just yet. Words on a page are merely the sand on the shores, the bricks in the pile, the outer frame of a building with no substance.
When I can see the story move in my head; when I can see it walk its way around from camera to camera; when the dust kicks up and there are actually footprints in the plot; when I can see people speaking and acting and living, that moment when the wind blows for the first time. This is when the writing starts for me. The writing begins when I can hear the story breathe. When I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the full construction on the page. Even how the book will end and this is when I can truly set out to navigate my way though this world. I am a spectator to a movie that has already begun, a director who must choreograph each scene. This is when I’ve began to write the first draft of a book. It is the moment when I know that the original idea is strong enough, and has the potential to be story fabric.