Tag Archives: inner story teller

Let the Story surprise you…

There was a post in the NaNoWriMo Forums which I got inspired by.

“One subject that keeps resurfacing on this forum is the idea that characters are somehow able to make their own choices. While this is a cute idea, it sounds like it is derailing some would-be authors. Rather than try and address this misunderstanding on a case-by-case basis, I thought it might be a good idea for us to explore why some people feel this way and what the harm of it is. […] The big pitfall of believing your characters are actual, sentient beings is that you lose the ability to tell the best possible story with them. Grow too attached and you’ll always find a way to keep bad things from happening to the character. You’ll enhance their traits until they’re the embodiment of everything you want to be. You’ll give them unrealistic rewards, or become blind to their faults. You’ll stop using them to serve the needs of the story, and they will become a parody of excellence that you may adore, but no one else will want to read.

Nah, I don’t believe that my characters are People (well they are people in the story, like any third person I see and describe the actions or words of in life), nor do I think that my characters ‘hijack’ my story/stories. But I do believe that my ‘storyteller some times comes up with twists and turns, concepts and ideas, that was not present in my mind when I started out writing. That is not the doing of my characters, that is the doing of ‘the story’. I had one of those ‘incidents the other day – I was plodding along in cavern full of possibly dangerous creatures (that was planned) when “Mr Bright Idea” started hollering from somewhere in my word counting brain that I absotively NEEDED an order of cloistered monks! I could not let go of this idea, every other word that my mind produced had to do with cloistered monks. Now the Monks are in the story, and they work fine there – but it was a twist in the story I had not anticipated. I don’t believe any story is a slave to me. I feel that part of telling a story is in the ability to let it surprise me, as it possibly will those who read.

Some ideas and twists might have to wait for later in the story – for me the ART of writing and the CRAFT of writing are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary, when my mind comes up with an idea that ‘absotively’ has to get ‘in there’, it is a test of my ability to get the story where it is supposed to go despite the unexpected twist.

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