It’s probably my favorite thing about writing – that glorious moment when the threads I’ve been writing weave themselves together and I see the pattern and what is going to happen next. There’s a kind of high about it. I suppose it’s when my subconscious mind releases to the conscious mind the full picture of what it’s been working on for the last few days, weeks, or months.
As a writer, I fall into the “pantser” category. I start with an idea or an opening scene, and sometimes a vague notion of where it’s going, but I frequently have no idea what’s in between or how to get it where I want it.
So I write the story to find out what happens, just as a reader reads it for the same reason. I sit at the computer and let it come out. I watch the characters, set up the problem, and wait to see what they do next.
It’s a bit scary to write that way, not knowing how I’m going to get from point A to point B all the way to Point Z. I’ve had a few false starts. But for the most part, the magic does happen, and I write the story all the way to the end.
But there always is a Moment. It’s like a flash of lightning in the brain that illuminates how everything comes together and shows me the answer I’m looking for and how I’m going to get there. In a novel, there may well be several of them as I go along with each one showing further development of the plot. In a short story, it’s usually just a single light bulb suddenly switching on.
That happened recently when I was working on the story I’ve just finished for the Malice, Matrimony & Mystery anthology. I started out with a character, a title, and an event. Then I just wrote, going along with what I saw happening. At the 2500-word mark (of a 4500-word story), it finally came to me who the baddie was, what would happen, and how it would be resolved. I even saw a couple of rather neat twists in the resolution.
I love it when that happens!