Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Remain Open to Change - Dwell in Possibility

Short post on one of the most important elements of the creative process: remaining open to change.

Example: I began writing my current novel last month. I had the title first, which for me, is how I roll. I'm not prepared to spill the beans on the title yet, but I will say it's similar to THE SECRET KEEPER in that the title tells the power of the main character. However, last week as I was writing, I was trying to find another character who could also have a power, since that's what I thought "should" happen. When I couldn't come up with someone else having a power, I thought, maybe none of them should, and the book should be straight YA rather than YA Fantasy. So... I took the power away from the mc.

And then today happened.

As I was writing, the mc stole my pen (i.e., keyboard) and began telling about her power and how it works and how it doesn't work and I realized maybe this is the way the book is supposed to be after all! How confusing this writing game can be. And how beautiful the notion of creating something from nothing.

Have you had similar experiences with your writing - when you thought something was "supposed" to go a certain way only to find you were terrifically wrong? I'd love to hear about it. ;-)

I feel I'm in "change" mode. I'm looking for a new background for my blog (don't be surprised if I have a new look the next time you stop by), I've moved the furniture around in my bedroom, and I have that anxious-butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling that something's coming, I don't know what it is, but it is gonna be great... Life. Possibility. Exciting.

As Emily Dickinson says, "Dwell in Possibility."

44 comments:

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yes!

And if people read the very first draft of what became TG, they'd not recognize Virginia Kate so well . . . I was trying to push her into something she was not - it was only when I let go that she was able to come alive and speak.

I like the B&W -pretty!

Ruthanne Reid said...

Yup, that's happened to me numerous times. In fact, it happened with this book - and I've learned to listen to it. It's a gut-instinct that hasn't led me wrong yet!

DebraLSchubert said...

Kat, Isn't it funny how we think we "know" what our characters are supposed to do? Fortunately, they usually wrestle us to the ground and set us straight. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Ruthanne, You, my friend, have set the world on fire with your writing lately. Good for you for trusting your "gut-instinct." That is, indeed, where the magic lies.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

I soooo agree! We have to remain open and ready for what our characters want to do and tell us. Sometimes I am upset or really sad when I find out what happens to my characters. And, once I was horrified when I actually wrote horror - hehe!

Guess we aren't in the driver's seat as much as we would like to think.

coffeelvnmom said...

Love this part of the writing process. It's fun and exciting, and most of all, inspiring. Who knows what you'll change next... but I'd love to hear what it is when you do! (Unless it's something like spring cleaning your entire house or re-doing flooring - anything along the lines of making me feel like a lazy bum, in which case, don't post about it at all.;) )

Regarding the title of your current project, mine came to me in the shower yesterday, I was just sudsing my hair and then *Boom* there it was. ;) Yay!

lbdiamond said...

Oh, yes. Nothing ever goes how I think it should. The characters tell me what they're going to do, LOL! (Right down to their hair color in one case!) My WIP is about shape-shifters, and I had wanted my MC to shift into a particular species, but she told me she changes into a different one. I had to go with it. What can I say?

Karen Walker said...

Yes, yes and yes, Debra. Change is what it's all about...and being open to possibility. My new writing project is a complete departure for me and it is like stepping into a bottomless void -- I have no idea what's going to happen or what I'm going to find. I'm trying to have fun with it.
Karen

Sybir St. John said...

This happens to me so often it isn't even funny. Then again, I let my characters talk in my head somedays, for hours. Hey, it kept me entertained as a child ;)

Current book? Totally off track from where I thought it was going and they're still sending me scrambling. Of course, then I do a what if and they start cooperating again, even with changes :)

~S

Elana Johnson said...

All the time! I've been known to delete 25,000 words (95 pages) of writing because it just wasn't working out. I know this feeling all too well.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Anne, "Guess we aren't in the driver's seat as much as we would like to think." Bingo! ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jessica, I know this could be taken the wrong way, but the shower's a great place for inspiration!!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

ib, There's nothing you can say. You just gotta go with the flow... ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Stacia, And people think we make this stuff up!!!! Nope, the voices find us. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Elana, Wow! I zapped 11K on the book my agent has now, and I thought that was amazing. You win the prize!

Jemi Fraser said...

My characters take over on a fairly regular basis. If I don't listen to them, it causes me all kinds of trouble :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jemi, I know our characters really think they're "all that," don't they?!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Karen, Stepping into the unknown is the blessing and curse of all artists. It is brutal, unexplainable, and immeasurably magnificent. ;-)

Nancy J. Parra said...

This is a great post! Being open to change is when the story gets interesting. Some of the best writing "magic" has happened for my stories when I go with the flow and discover what it is the characters really want.

cheers~

Debra L. Schubert said...

Nancy, Glad you enjoyed the post. The less control we have, the better off our stories are. ;-)

jdcoughlin said...

Debra,
First of all, I love your new picture! You are so beautiful rockstar writer looking!

But writing. Yes. My MC dictates the book. I'm just writing it down. I have no clue where it is going and sometimes why it is not going. But I have never done a 95,000 word dump. No way. Would have died first. For sure.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Ooooo... I love the new blog layout. Aren't they so fun (a huge pain in the butt)! : )


Happy Wednesday!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Judith, Glad you like the pic! It's actually from the same photo shoot as the "blue" one. I'm w/you - I would rather die than have to chop more than 11K words. That's my new limit. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kimberly, Since you're so good at this whole Subliminal Message thing, I think you should take over SUBLIMINAL MONDAYS. ;-) [Really, it's easy. Nothing to it. It only take me 3-4 hours to do one post. I'll give you chocolate.]

Sybir St. John said...

I was wondering how long it takes you to post ;) I know how long it takes me sometimes, but adding in the subliminal stuff....eesh.

Left my characters hanging while we went to the gym today and errand running...and they took over and took the story a new way. Better way.

Love when your subconscious works WITH you.

Kimberly Franklin said...

LOL! I do LOVE Subliminal Mondays [did you say chocolate?]!

You must never stop, but if you feel the need to pass them off to me for a few weeks I'll happily take them [just please don't send the chocolate... I'm on a diet]!

[Who am I kidding? Send me all the chocolate!]

David F. Weisman said...

What? All change and no hope?

koralee said...

Don't you love that feeling...I get it too. You know something is coming...but you do not know what...all you know is it is going to be good. That is how we should look at life everyday. Thank you sweet friend for all your wonderful encouragement..you are the best. Good luck with your writing. xoxo

Debra L. Schubert said...

David, Hope is always implied in changed. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Koralee, You know how much I love your work. It is blissful imagery for the soul, and we - your readers - are blessed to experience it.

Angela Corbett said...

I love when my characters tell me what they want and completely turn the idea I had into something new!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Angela, It's kind of scary to think figments of our imagination are smarter than us. But they kind of are. ;-)

Sharla said...

Absolutely!! In fact it keeps happening as I get further into the novel I'm working on now. Every time I think I know the story, one of the characters takes a break and runs a new scene with me (the director)...and I'm like "Yeah! That's better! But a totally different direction!" And the character will just nod like I'm an imbecil and go back and punch in and get back to work. I'm thinking "characters are such divas" and he's thinking "directors are such a pain!". But he has to be nice because I can have that "delete" key...and he's non-union.

:)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Sharla, OMG, you're totally cracking me up! I think you need to do a post on this, too!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

The short story I'm working on now has taken so many unexpected twists and turns that I don't even recognize it as the one I began to write a few months ago! And my characters have had the nerve to take over the story line and change my title. (Like their's better!) LOL!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Donna, "And my characters have had the nerve to take over the story line and change my title." The nerve! Just who do they think they are? They're all a bunch of divas, that's what I think. ;-)

Fragrant Liar said...

I have found this a lot. But change is ALWAYS good, IMO. At least for me, it has been. When my characters start doing things "they" want to do, it's more in line with their "real" character rather than my forced characterization. I don't know if that made sense -- it's late where I am... but I do know the writing, the plotting, the story is much better when I allow the changes that my characters demand. What a process of discovery!

Debra L. Schubert said...

FL, You totally nailed the point of the post. Sometimes we need to move our brilliant arses out of the way and let the true brilliance step in.

What a process of discovery indeed! ;-)

Kristin said...

This is by no means on par with writing a novel, but sometimes when I'm not feeling very inspired for a blog post subject, I just start writing and somehow a post just organically comes to fruition!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kristin, That's exactly how I write my posts. Rarely do I know in advance what I'm going to write about. Crazy, this writing stuff, huh? ;-)

Fragrant Liar said...

Debra and Kristin, that's exactly how I write the damn blog posts too! I have NO EARTHLY IDEA what I'm going to write about when I come to the laptop. But once I start just free-writing, something pops up and I'm off!

Is this how it is for everybody? I always think, I'm out of juice. What a boring life I lead. What could I possibly speak about next? And lo and behold . . .

Although, at the moment, I got nothin', which is why I'm READING instead of WRITING.

Debra L. Schubert said...

FL, I think some of us are "pantsers" and some are "planners." I'm with you - I'm always amazed how when I move my brilliant arse aside, what shows up. Creativity is magical. ;-)

jdcoughlin said...

That is blue Debra? No way. You mean you just took that picture and tilted it and recolored it and it is all the sudden new and exciting? Boy, that is one profound statement on the power of a good edit!!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Judith, No! I didn't do anything to the pic, it's just a diff one from the same photo shoot as the "blue" one. He took over 300 shots that day. ;-)

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