When I start to write a story I have a character and scene in mind and allow the story to unfold.
In a writing workshop, my instructor asks, “What is the ‘Spine’ of your story?” At first, I’m not quite certain what she is asking. Is ‘Spine’ theme? Is it motivation? Is it voice? Oh no, I worry, do I even have a story to tell?
My ah-ha moment – I struggled with the question because I didn’t know my story well enough. Not what happens next, but the guts of the story. And by knowing the guts, I’ve got more to work with, more scenes coming forward. Though I may write as a story unfolds; there is much work and planning, checking to see that all elements are stitched to the ‘Spine.’ If it can’t be stitched it’s got to go.