Thursday, March 27, 2014

Adventurous--No Particular Destination

This happened to me when I was a newly licensed teen driver. I just got on the freeway and took off in a direction I’d never been before. Two hours later, it was around 11pm, I had no idea where I was, and my car was running on fumes. This was decades before cell phones were common. Somehow, I found a police station in some small, heaven-only-knows town and called my dad. I was completely off any map that he had available (and he had several Thomas Brothers map books). The police were kind enough to tell me the general direction but offered no help in getting gas. I was very anxious, but finally made it home around 1am.
Just as some adventurous person might decide to just jump in the car and start driving, At times writers may work on various parts of their written pieces that way. “Inspiration” strikes them and they just start writing. Some have even described it as the piece taking on a “life of its own,” where the writer feels as if they are merely along for the ride, an observer. I understand how this happens, I too have started writing short stories this way. The problem is that many of those stories ended in up in the trash because I soon faltered when I worked myself into a corner, felt the creative juices try up, or just lost interest and didn't know how to proceed.
Then again those that are actually writing "stories" may have no idea where they actually want to end it. Saying “My story will end when I kill of the bad guy,” may be the initial goal. But as you continue writing you realize there is so much more of this story to tell. Maybe you want to do a flashback, examining why the bad guy was the way he was--but first you want to kill him off. I've seen some TV shows that use this method to captivate their audience--First they relate an event, then they backtrack and explain how everything built up to that event. I've modeled speeches after this method and the audience afterwards expressed great appreciation for it.

I've also seen inexperienced high school and college students become so overwhelmed with the data they've collected, that instead of trying to organize it first, they make a blind stab at shoving it all into a "package" and call it "done."
But I would never suggest that a writer disregard his/her creative juices. Go ahead and write to your heart’s content. If, as I previously mentioned, everything just flows out of your brain, through your pen and onto your paper (or from brain to computer keyboard) and you actually finish the whole trip that way--bravo! My hat is off to you. You are a rare breed and an accomplished traveler that knows how to get around on the landscape of your story. On the other hand, IF you do get lost for what should follow, try the methods recommended in this series--for example, the Hiker's Compass.
This article is part of a series. Please scroll through the Index to "Inspiration For Writers."

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