Forgive me a first post talking about my process.
I am writing a book made up of nine stories. They are linked, taking place in a brightly-coloured science fiction world. I am about to start writing a first draft of the ninth and final story, and find myself stalling.
The project has changed from the way I originally envisioned it. The book started out as all taking place in a peculiar city that veered into surrealist territory. Then I wrote something which completely changed the project.
“Strawberry Promotion” came out in a white-hot burst, first person and present tense. Set in an entirely different world. There was no question it had to be in the book, but it changed everything. The one story that had made it into the project thus far was dropped. So, I only had one story and a world to build.
It grew increasingly strange and frightful and brightly coloured. I thought up a crystalline structure, nine stories, three trilogies split up between three sections. Things started to get complicated. The book got a title, Strawberry World.
In the process of writing the pieces, things changed. One of the trilogies ended up being three stories connected more by vague symbols than anything concrete.
The structure came apart last night. Workshopping one of the stories with some of the other writers in my program made me realize that the second story in the book actually needs to be the first story and it has to move backward in time, and has to have entirely different characters involved with it. Other stories need to be reordered.
It’s immensely invigorating to see the book as, well, a book, but to also understand what the book needs me to do to make it better. Giving up and taking control simultaneously.
But I still have to sit down and write the ninth story. But there’s a lot weighing the last story down that I need to forget about, I need to forget the plan and focus on what the character needs to do.