Friday, September 15, 2017

Falling down the Rabbit hole?

As an author do you sometimes feel like Alice in Wonderland? 

Have you fallen down the Rabbit hole of your story? 

Is your manuscript taking you on a ride that makes no sense with characters that confuse you? 

If so, welcome to the club. Many authors work from an outline and use it to guide the story. I am not one of them. Story ideas come to me, characters appear and I just follow them along for awhile to see what happens next. The story doesn't always follow the path I thought it would and that is not always a bad thing.

If you truly allow the main characters in your story to guide you, the story can evolve in surprising and unusal ways. I'm not saying we should all try writing truly fantastic characters in a wonderland world, but you can if you're compelled to do so.

I've found with all of my books that once I truly knew my character inside and out, they showed me what happens next. I've been pleasantly surprised, shocked, and even happy to see a scene develop in my minds eye. What a magical experience it can be.

What I'd like to share with all you authors out there is this:
  • It's okay to write nonsense - sometimes that's what it takes to get to the heart of the scene.  
  • It's okay to write weird characters - humans are all unique in their own strange way. 
  • It's okay to let the story grow organically - sometimes the best things happen when you allow it to just tumble down the direction it wants to go.
  • It's okay to be surprised where the story leads - it is usually a wonderful gift.
You can always edit out the parts that don't fit, but keep them in a "rambling thoughts & ideas" folder - you might need them for the next story.

Enjoy the writing journey, it can be quite a ride.
Author of the "feisty family series" and a nove of romantic suspense: "Your Every Move."


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Bonnie,

Letting the characters run the show is certainly a creative approach to fiction-writing. Whatever works! I'm more likely to do that with short stories than novels though. With novels, I tend to write a rough outline which is flexible before the first draft. I also write a character bible for each of the main characters so that I make fewer mistakes.

Bonnie Tharp said...

I do love interviewing my characters so I get to know them better. It's hard to let them have the show if you don't know them thoroughly. I wish I were organized enough to use an outline. I have outlined once I have many chapters to make sure the story is clear and makes sense, has an arch, and all open issues are closed to some level of satisfaction. Everyone has a different process and I think new writers are afraid they aren't "doing it right." Thanks for the comment.

Unknown said...

I also write a character bible for each of the main characters so that I make fewer mistakes.


Bonnie Tharp said...

That is an excellent idea. I do forget who has brown eyes and who has blue and have to refer back to my notebooks where I keep my story notes. It would be much easier to have it somewhere like a character bible. Thanks for the tip, fellow authors.

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