In Lewis Carroll’s iconic work, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the main character tumbles down a rabbit hole and enters a strange and fantastic world. What goes unsaid is that when Alice entered this new world, Carroll was there waiting for her.
What’s my point? If you’re an author, don’t write a word until you’ve slid down that rabbit hole and are comfortably ensconced in the story you are writing. This advice isn’t just for fantasy authors. Genre doesn’t matter. You have to inhabit the story you’re writing; you have to write from the inside out. How can you build this world, tell this story, if you’re on the outside looking in?
I’m not talking about focus or concentration – you have to go through that to reach the rabbit hole and make your descent. I’m talking about something akin to a disassociative or hypnotic state, where the world drops away and you’re suddenly there with your characters, observing, participating, reporting what happens next as you push the story forward. The writing is better and sharper, sometimes surprisingly so. I have occasionally written sentences or short passages that I know are beyond my talent level. It’s a bit surreal.
If you think this makes sense, I hope you’ll give it a try. If you think this is bullshit, I hope you’ll give it a try just to be sure.