Every time I have written a book I have had the same issue - and that is a period of searching accompanied by fairly intense doubt. This is due to how I write - which is:
- Imagine a world - the environment in which the story will take place, and;
- Imagine a scene - just a start, and go from there.
I don't find it hard to do the above - if that was all that was required to write a novel, I could have written thousands of books by now. But of course, a book needs a plot, characters, and events.
The seeking and the self-doubt, or just outright plain doubt, go hand-in-hand until one wins. And yes "Doubt" has won, more than once. In the dusty recesses of my notebook's memory are buried thousands of words (some of them really good), that most likely will never see the light of day.
The searching is to find the "crux" of the story, the twist that makes sense, is logical, but one that no one will guess even using logic (especially so, perhaps).
With 'Tag' it was finding out how to avoid killing off two-thirds of the world's population. In 'Burn' it was the betrayal of Cheep, and in 'Wet' it was the revelations relating to Pim's father.
With 'Heat' the crux has proved as elusive as finding an honest man in a stockbroker's club. this has not hindered writing, but it means writing without a goal - a journey without a destination.
This week the revelation came to me - out of the blue, as they always do. I wish I could figure out how to manufacture them - so far all I know is that it takes an indeterminate amount of time and an inordinate amount of time spent in your mind traveling dead-end roads and paths that beguilingly lead you on until you arrive back where you started.
Many authors I know are able to outline a story; I am not (I would love to be able to that but find that if I do it kills the will to write it once outlined - and so I live in terror of doing it with any project I have invested in for fear of losing it all).