Flexability Wins

9 07 2011

We surf. Through a web of millions of ideas, through moving pictures, even water. It’s one of the ways we entertain and amuse. We surf.

I hate surfing. Sometimes the thought of lacking the ability to just lock on and find precisely what I want is disheartening. I think that’s why I like netflix so much. Anyways…

It’s like that with writing too. Thoughts will develop, they will be solid – well fleshed out. Each of them will begin to build upon the previous and start to bridge upward to the next, creating a beautiful upward spiral of finely crafted prose. Until they start to get distracted, or become lost. Perhaps they are even unsure of themselves and thus they begin a tragic march into a place of nothingness, indecision and disappointment.

It’s that whole, “not-being-able-to-lock-on” thing…

Have you ever moved quickly and efficiently through a project only to find that you’re suddenly at a loss of direction? What started as a clearly defined goal with steps on how to arrive there, it becomes a moving target with an entirely unpredictable path. This doesn’t strictly pertain to writing so don’t think that you can’t feel camaraderie with me, it happens with anything! Essentially, no matter what you are doing, if it takes a plan it can become garbled!

That happened to me today. I was continuing work on my piece for the Clarion Write-A-Thon and found that something alarming was starting to happen. One of my antagonist was hijacking my plot! What started as a scene that was meant to be awkward, became outrageous and violent. A death nearly occurred! It was an innocent bystander who suffered the wrath of the knife wielding man from the woods, he didn’t die but it was still a near death. So what happened?

I kept it of course.

One of the things that I have learned from NaNoWriMo is to “just get it out”. One of the focuses of that writing event is volume, volume, VOLUME. There are only thirty days to crank out 50k words around family and job/school obligations – depending on who you are of course. The Prime Rule in NaNoWriMo is to get your thoughts down on the page and forget about it, move on – press FORWARD! There will be plenty of time to edit later after all, getting all of your raw ideas into a format that you can physically work with is invaluable for refining those ideas into a second, third or fourth draft and beyond. So like I said, I kept the scene making only enough adjustments to it (without using the ‘delete’ key) to steer it back toward the direction that I wanted the original plot to go in.

That’s something that will happen from time to time. Perhaps you write, perhaps not. Either way its important to be aware that when working through a scene, even if it’s going precisely as you expected, following your plan to a “T” – there will more than likely be deviations. It’s one way you know you have a good character, its catches you off guard. It refuses to simply lay down and be written. Sometimes it feels the need to seize the story and tell you to bugger off, let it do what it wants. And that’s more than ok, that’s great! It’s the unexpected rise and fall in the wave isn’t it? Who doesn’t like unexpected enrichment of your characters eh?

So I did a bit of surfing. Made me sort of sad, but I dealt with it – adjusted and overcame like a Roman Legionnaire driving my sword forward in conquest. Only the sword is my pen. And I’m nowhere close to Roman.

Does that seem a little much? It’s ok if you think so, I won’t judge.

So remember,

  • Surfing is inevitable, don’t fight it.
  • Characters have rights too. If they want to do something unexpected, go with it.
  • Learn to bend with your writing, fluidity wins.
  • I am NOT a Roman.

-GFP

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