Sometimes as writers our work can surprise us. We may get an idea for a story where our plot can take us in a completely different direction than what we had originally intended. It opens up doors to possibilities that can broaden our research and make our story stronger.
Recently, with a new story idea, I had been struggling with the very beginnings and background to one of my characters. Once I spent some time away from this new story, I quickly found myself down a particular period in history and amongst some shady characters. It was most unexpected, but it has left me excited to pursue this and how it will shape the rest of the story’s plot.
Then there can be the actual writing itself. A lot of the time writing can be compared with pulling teeth, trying to find the right words and wondering what our characters are going to say next. It’s a wonderful feeling when we find ourselves ‘in the zone’; that special place where we are there within the scene as we write it, oblivious to our surroundings. Such moments don’t happen too often (or is that just me?) and such a natural high, that it should be savoured.
Last November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I had a rough outline of what I had planned and used a timer. I think it was these two things that helped me get over the line at the end of the month. Recently I began the task of going over my NaNoWriMo novel, and expecting the usual slush, I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading the first couple of chapters. The descriptions actually made me feel that I could see the setting; the season and the spaces the characters occupied. Sure it still needs a lot of work, but to have made such a starting point when I was racing against the clock surprised me.
Writing, like any creative outlet, allows us to free ourselves from constraints. When we give in to our creativity and just go with it, we can experiment and try different things. If we allow our characters free rein, letting them tell us their stories in their own way (some authors have said as writers, we are just conduits), such things can surprise us as writers, but always in a good way. 😉
Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? Did you ever come up with a plot device you never expected? Have you experienced being ‘in the zone’? Do you allow your characters free rein?
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6 thoughts on “Has Your Writing Ever Surprised You?”
I love a good shady character. 🙂
I did more timed writing during NaNo last year and found it worked very well for me. Will keep that in mind if I participate this time.
Hi Madeline. Using a timer has been a big help for me in getting my writing done, otherwise it can be painstakingly slow as I think too much about it. I think writers, when starting out should do NaNoWriMo at least once to get into the habit of writing faster. Best of luck with it and thanks for stopping by! 🙂
There’s a quote that’s stuck by me, a writer saying that “I don’t like writing, but I like having written”. It doesn’t quite apply to me, as I like the writing process when it’s flowing, but it’s really fun to read back things I’ve written and feel like what I’ve written is half decent!
Hi David. I’ve heard that quote and can relate to it. I’ve still yet to entirely love the process, but it does have its moments. And I agree – it’s a great feeling to go over our writing and discover it’s not as bad as we thought. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
That’s awesome that your NaNo draft was so much better than you expected it to be. That had to be a welcome surprise. I’ve never tried timed writing but so many people swear by it I feel like I should give it a try.
Hi Julie. Because I’m such a perfectionist, I tend to linger too long in getting the words written down. I’ve found that a timer really helps in reminding me that it doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it done. I hope you find a timer helpful. Best of luck! 🙂
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