Getting Lost

Sometimes, getting from A to B in Mumbai is extremely complicated.  The taxi drivers don't always know where you want to go, and if you can't direct them, you will be lost.  I've also had 2 drivers refuse to accept my directions and stop to ask men walking by.  Grrrrrrr. I accept there's a language barrier, men, but I'm not lost in my local area or places I've visited numerous times! It is possible for me to know better than you!!


Last week we got hopelessly lost twice.  Both journeys gave me a lot of time to think.  I thought about all the ways you can get lost in a story.  You can do it on purpose (characters getting lost = the plot) or you can get lost as you write.  Lose your place in the story, lose the way you want to go, lose threads you need to bind together... It feels like everything's tangled up and you're trapped with no idea which way to turn.

Losing your way during writing ('SUP PANTSERS!!!) feels very similar to getting lost in a city where no-one knows the names of roads and addresses kind of don't mean a thing.  Seriously.  Telling taxi drivers the name of the road I live on in Mumbai is utterly futile.  I get shrugs, wide-eyed stares or headshakes (thankfully, no one here insists the place doesn't exist, unlike cab drivers I've dealt with in the Bronx...).  I have to direct them to our building from the shopping district in Worli, our suburb.  And you know what? You can direct yourself back to your plot just as easily!

Here are some tips:

1) If you don't outline the story before you write it, keep A LOT of notes as you go!
2) Stop writing and read everything so far. I'd suggest not editing as it can confuse the story later on, but it's up to you :)
3) Annotate as you read.  Write down the main ideas you may have forgotten in one, easy to see place (like a notebook or a whiteboard).
4) I find it really helpful to handwrite scenes from further into the story when I've stared at my laptop for a while and not written a single word.

The most important thing? Don't get frustrated! You can find your way again.

Way found, in the most touristic spot in Mumbai - Leopold Cafe

So, how about all of you? What do you do when you lose your way?

Ooooh, and have some music:

Appropriate title is appropriate.


  1. This is so good. I try to hard to be a plotter. I even attempt outlines, but for some reason I get into the thick of writing and things start changing. Thanks for this post!

    1. Yeah, if I ever plan ahead what I plan doesn't make it into the finished product ^^;

  2. How true :) I'm a planner, but even with my handy outline I sometimes wander until I'm kind of lost. I do believe that it's possible to write yourself back out of being lost, so that's a good thing.

    Great post :)

    1. You can definitely find you way, even if it does require deleting huge chungs of work.


  3. This was a hilarious (and very apt) comparison! I do the "re-read, stop...then restart" approach when I get lost.

    1. Thanks! And yeah, I'm fond of re-reading what I've written, even if it makes me want to bang my head against a wall for being so convoluted!


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