Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who is really in control here?

My editing process was supposed to be a relatively simple-ish one. Move a few things around, delete some excess information, write a couple of new scenes to link it all together and just add a little more oomph overall. Instead what I have so far are: about 10,000 new words, a raft of new scenes and potentially a whole new book worth of story. Why though? Simply because I'm not in control.

Sounds counter-intuitive right? It's my story. I'm the author. Of course I'm in control of what happens. Except I'm not. I'm really, really not. The fact of the matter is during the time I write, I turn my mind over to my characters and let them tell me what happens. One extra scene can turn into a case of, "Oh, so you want to know what happened during ABC? Well, sit down let me tell you all about it." 

Is this just a way of saying there are voices in my head telling me what to do? Maybe. But don't worry, I'm still completely sane (or at least mostly sane...as sane as anyone can really be anyway). The voices: they come from my characters. During the time I write a story, just as when I read one, the characters come alive in my mind. They speak to me and shape their own destiny. One new scene might easily spark several chapters. Even in my first draft it is like this.

Oftentimes, when the muses are being especially kind to me, all I need to do is dictate the scenes that run through my mind like a movie. Sometimes, I can't write fast enough to keep up with them. Other times, the characters might be a little quieter, and need a little coaxing before they'll come out and play. But when they do, it's time to hold on tight again.

Even when I'm not writing, my characters aren't necessarily quiet. At times, they can be as loud and demanding as my seven-year-old. If this happens during times I can't write, I let them simmer along in the background so that they will (hopefully) be ready when it comes time to put finger to keyboard.

This post is just an insight into the way that writing works for me, it may not be the same for everyone. If any other writers are reading this, I'd love to know what your process is. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do your characters speak to you too? If you're a reader, do the characters you read in books come alive for you too?

1 comment:

  1. A story read should be as good as watching a movie & in my exprience with my imagination usually better & often scarier

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