I have, basically, nothing. I’ve got a setting I’ve always wanted to write about, and I’ve (finally) got a couple of names. And that’s it. That’s what I started with a few hours ago or whatever it was. Nothing. But you start writing and your characters start doing things. It’s very slow going, extremely slow going. When you have a plot to walk through your characters automatically have to do things and the way they decide to do things starts to define them, but I don’t have much of a plot here. This is going to be a thinky-talky type story. So I’ve got two characters, and it takes hours to work through a few paragraphs, but what I’m doing, besides focusing on the language just to have something to focus on, is making choices. They just start coming. You make one and then you make two and then you’ve got a bit of a grip on one of your guys, because you’re not going to make him a refrigerator salesman or whatever without starting to think about whether he’s good at being a refrigerator salesman, and if he’s good then you’ve culled out a little about him, there’s a few things that go into a salesman’s personality, you don’t need to stress them crazy hard, but they’re there. And if he’s good at his job then you wonder if he’s happy doing it, or if he’s so good that he’s a little high-and-mighty about it and then you’ve made another choice and you write some more dialogue and this starts to come out and before you know it you have, not just two names, but some personality to go with them. Not that I have refrigerator salesmen in this story, but that’s how it goes, and the only way I can think of describing how it happens is that I just relax, stop trying to create and focus on the typing and I just let it happen. I know I’m going to go back and rewrite so I can relax and let myself make these choices and know that I can always cut a paragraph or two where all I do is work through something similar to the salesman thought process above and leave only the real stuff. And I let myself misstep. Those are also important. I let myself finish sentences that don’t seem right at all because when something clunks horribly then you’ve got a clue as to what’s not working and you can figure out what might work in it’s place.
And then you come onto your blog and you babble all sorts of things because you don’t have a story and you want to procrastinate.