As I’ve been busting out this new novel idea of mine, I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly why this one seems to be going so smoothly while the other one was stops and starts. (Mostly stops.) What was the lubrication on the tracks? And then I realized that this new story I’m working on has a lot less white space that the other one.
What do I mean by noveling white space? Well, let me explain. It’s kind of like when you take a road trip. You make stops along the way, you have a starting point and probably an ending destination in mind. But what do you really spend a lot of the drive looking at? The random stuff along the road. The farms, the trees, the mountains, the roadkill, the creepy gas stations. All of that is like the white space that fills up the gaps in your novel, like the cement-y stuff that goes between bricks in a wall. Filler stuff. The character-building, story-furthering yet not really planned-out stuff. That’s what I mean when I say white space. And I don’t seem to like it all that much.
Most of my stories up to this point have been fairly well mapped out as far as beginning, ending, and major plot points, but the in-between space has been kind of sketchy. I give myself goals, say ‘this needs to get done in here’, and then figure that I will fill it in as I go. Which I never do. It’s too open, that space, and it means that so much of what I’m writing, integral stuff to the flow of the book, is happening on the fly. I used to think that was okay, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe I don’t like not knowing where I’m going with my stories. Which is why all of that white space was blocking me in my other stories, but not so much in this one.
This story, due to the differences in approach that I may talk about if I get around to posting a blog about it, has much less filler space than my other project. I have built it into smaller chunks, and there is a lot less to sort of ‘invent’ as I go. Therefore, with a clear and set path, I’m able to practically teleport from one destination to another–and not get held up with a flat tire or a traffic jam. (To follow the previous metaphor.)
So, what do you think about my hypothesis? Is Noveling White Space a thing? Are you the kind of writer who has to have everything planned out, down to the tiniest insignificant (but oh-so-significant) detail, or are you the eternal Nanowrimo-writer, going by the seat of your pants and letting your own novel be a surprise, even to you? (I shuddered just READING that.)
Let me know!