POST CARD FROM THE MUSE
Fill In the Blank
By Nandy Ekle
The last couple of weeks I talked about my need for organization in my every day life, but the total lack of structure in my writing life. And I’ve studied and been told and shown what an important tool outlining, planning, and plotting can be for a writer.
Let me just say, whatever your writing habits are, I will never tell you you’re doing it wrong, especially if you can successfully write “The End.” I very firmly believe each writer’s methods are right for them. But I also feel it’s important to have an open mind and trying something new to be sure you have the most effective way for your writing.
Last Friday I ended in the middle of telling about one story I wrote in a completely different way from my normal seat-of-the-pants method. This particular story, I did the plotting and planning, the story boarding and characterization, and the theme and each event. Even though this story is one I love very deeply, I didn’t have as much fun writing it as I normally have. The spontaneity was gone. The surprise was gone. I felt as though I was filling in blanks to a story already written.
But as I mentioned last week, something very interesting happened. The story was successful. I entered it in a contest, and it won second place and it earned the second spot in an anthology (available on Amazon). The other thing that happened was that the main character became one of my all-time favorite characters. And I think the reason that happened is that in my characterization of her, I realized she represents both of my grandmothers rolled into one.
Now, there’s another story I wrote in my normal way. This story, I had a theme and a situation. My character had a paranormal ability, but she didn’t want to reveal her talent, so she made up a story when caught using her gift. This was where I started. As I wrote, events of the story came to life as if I were a reader reading it. For me, this is the “funnest” part of writing. The tale unfolds in my head as if I’m watching a movie. In fact, as I headed into the final scene, I still was not sure who my villain was. As one of my “movie” scenes played, the secret bad guy turned his face to me and winked. This was when I saw the end of my story. To this day, I get cold chills when I remember the scene.
This story has not found a home yet, but that’s one of my resolutions for this year.
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