Looks like Spring and Winter are fighting for supremacy here in SW Louisiana. We're turning our AC on during the day and heater at night and Mother Nature is arguing with Father Sun because we get rain and clouds and sunshine all mixed up LOL! But God is good ALL the Time!
Today's guest has been here before so please settle in and enjoy Karen McCullough's post about Playing with Story....
For half of the month of December, my daughter, son-in-law, and their four sons isolated themselves for two weeks so that they could safely visit us for the Christmas holiday. Even though, we didn’t see many of the friends and other family we normally would, we did have a wonderful time with them.
The four boys range from nine down to three and all have very different personalities. But a couple of things they have in common: they all have vivid imaginations and no fear in setting them loose.
The picture shows what happened when a couple of them were handed a box of Mr. Potato-head pieces. They had already done the standard silly faces and mixed up limbs for a while but got bored with being conventional.
The older boys got several robot kits of various sorts for Christmas. (It was a theme this year, and they do love robots!) Most seemed to require adult assistance to get them put together right, but a couple still refused to function properly. They got set aside for a bit. A few days ago my daughter let me know that the boys had gotten out those kits again, spent days noodling around with them and finally got everything working, one way or another. Directions apparently had only a minimal role in that happening.
I’m well aware that it’s not fool-proof, but the point is that by playing with these sets, they actually achieved better results than the adults who slavishly tried to follow the (frequently enigmatic) directions.
I try to do something similar when I approach creating a story. I’m pretty much a seat-of-the-pants writer, meaning I don’t pre-plot short stories or novels. I start with an idea, usually an opening scene or two and a vague notion of where I think it’s going to go. Then I sit down and write and see what my brain comes up with.
Occasionally, the story will just work right out of my mind and onto the paper. I love when that happens. More often, though, I’ll write scenes, incidents, and in the process, I’ll find the core of the characters and unearth the story. More often it comes out as something equivalent to the Potato-Head mish-mash the boys built.
Almost always I have to go back and reorganize things, realizing I may have started at the wrong place or included too much of the background I had to write to find the kernel of the plot. Every now and again I get to a point where I realize it just isn’t working and isn’t going to, so I put that aside and go onto something else.
Normally, though, by playing around with the story elements--the scenes, the dialogue, unexpected actions by the characters and a few surprise revelations--I’ll find the heart of the conflict and the character’s arc. The process takes time. I’m not a fast writer, just a steady one.