I know I said I'd be away until September 1st, but here it is, Sunday afternoon, and I have some time on my hands--and access to the internet! I have missed y'all! Hopefully things are well with all of you!
I've been thinking a lot about change this week, about what it means for our characters, for us as writers, and for the readers as well. Have you ever started writing a story and had it turn in a completely different direction? Ever had random people appear from out of nowhere, your characters make a decision that you didn't plan on, thus requiring the plot to go in a different direction, or something completely unexpected happen? Have you ever "dropped a bomb" without realizing it was going to happen until it actually did?
I've definitely had that happen to me in writing. My finished manuscript had a major character development change that I didn't see coming until I started writing chapter 15. When that happened, it was almost a relief because it answered a lot of questions that I had. Of course, it also created a lot as well. But when I tested it with critique partners, the response was positive: they felt that the change was authentic to the story and the character itself. Whew! But it's a scary moment to suddenly realize that things aren't what they seem.
Which begs the question: who really writes our stories? Do your characters often run away with it? Do they have a better idea of what's going on than even you do? And are we, even with our fully developed plots and scribbled plans, open to whatever changes may come? My experience with writing is that every change I've encountered has been for the best.
But oh, how I chafe at change in life.
I'm one of those people who moves slowly, who needs stability and the time to adjust to whatever comes. Which is funny, considering my other job (missions), which is nothing but constant change. Definitely a paradox. In writing, I'm definitely a little more open to it. Still, I'd prefer as few surprises as possible, simply because it means for less time spent re-writing.
How do you handle change, in real life and in writing? Have you ever gotten to the end of a story and finally realized what was going on? What surprises have come your way?
And speaking of surprises, I had a doosy this week! It's a LOOOONNNNGGG story (aren't they all), that began with me boarding a plan to Cambodia and getting stranded in India. Needless to say, it was a change of "international proportions". I am so thankful that it happened here, in India, where I have people to call and a place to stay, instead of anywhere else in the world. So that's where I'm writing from at the moment, in a little village in India on a humid Sunday afternoon. The rest of my time here will be spent with those precious orphans you saw pictures of last week and at a leper colony. I'll return to the States on the originally planned date and will return to the blog then. But I wanted you to know what was going on!
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