Hope everyone's going to have a great week. It's Spring in Australia so we have months of glorious sunny skies to look forward to before Summer hits us with its jet engine blast.
Thanks to those who visited my post at Richard Hughes' blog and told me how much they enjoyed reading about My Place, Queensland. Some of your comments were lost, as Richard changed over from Google+ comments after I posted and so many of my followers complained they couldn't comment.
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I'm feeling encouraged today as I read something that encouraged me--and isn't that what IWSG is about? Sharing both our insecurities and encouragements.
NOW... have you ever been writing away, then before you even get halfway through your novel, one of your subplots or subcharacters becomes a lot more interesting than your main plot/characters? They want to take over the whole book. You actually get bored when you try to return things to the way you planned them when you outlined your book.
If so, you're in good company. *When Melville wrote a large chunk of Moby Dick, he thought that the pivotal figure was a man named, er, Bulkington. If you read the first couple of chapters you'll notice all the build up about dear ole Bulkington, who then gets abruptly washed overboard the first day the Pequod leaves harbour. Naturally he's never heard of again.
What just happened? Melville had discovered a character named, er, Ahab. Melville wasn't a tidy writer like we are, so the original beginning is still there. Oh, poor Bulkington, RIP.
Did you know JRR Tolkein had a similar experience? A third of the way through The Fellowship of the Ring, some ruffian named Strider strode in, confronted the hobbits in an inn, and Tolkein was in despair. He didn't know who Strider was, where the book was going, or what to write next. Strider turns out to be no lesser person than, er, Aragorn, the unrecognised, uncrowned king of all the forces of good, whose restoration to rule is, along with the destruction of the evil ring, the engine that moves the plot of the whole massive trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Go figure.
Melville and Tolkein were mere mortals just like you and me, well sort of...
Fiction is like life--it nearly always changes under our hands, takes on an atmosphere, a feel, a will of its own. Our subconscious sends us smoke signals. Ideas come out of nowhere and flash onto the page. Sometimes, like in the case of Ahab and Strider, that's for the good.
But our subconscious sends up not only smoke signals, but smoke screens that can obscure, distort, and sometimes threaten to destroy our vision of what we are trying to create, so watch it.
Outlining a story in great detail has never appealed to me. I've tried, but my stories refuse to fit into my outline and I think that's the point. Writing is a process of discovery (that's the new term for pantser--a discovery writer), as it's one of invention. The more serious we are about our writing, the more complex the story, the more likely it is to start creating itself in unexpected ways.
But don't discount these unexpected changes--examine them, and use them to create.
- How about you? Have you had similar experiences to Melville and Tolkein?
- The Write...Edit...Publish prompt for the month is CHANGING FACES. Post your flash fiction, non fiction, poetry, photo essay, artwork...that encapsulates the prompt. All welcome. Post on your blog from September 22-24.
|High School students enthusiastically buying books and getting them signed|
on the second day of the Brisbane Writers Festival
held at the Brisbane State Library where I work. Can't wait to attend my
three sessions on the weekend.
*I've generous used information I gleaned from the book, PLOT, by Ansen Dibell.