Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Minor Catastrophe

And just like that, my daughter had to have 6 stitches in her ear. It's moments like these that remind me of what makes a great story great. In real life, I was getting my kids ready to go out and choose a pumpkin for Halloween, but then this one little catastrophe hit. Grace fell into an end table and we had to take her to the urgent care instead. The question is, what would've happened had we gone to choose a pumpkin? In what way would my story have changed if the plan remained intact? In writing, plans turn on a dime and characters' paths cross or remain parallel at the author's discretion. Are we so focused on the plot we've laid out that we don't see the diversion, that little bit of real life, that will lead our characters down the more natural and believable path? Tell me, what are some of your favorite scenes in books or movies that illustrate this concept? What sorts of literature and media inspire your writing?


  1. I had an experience while writing my current project that I needed certain even to lead me to a certain place. I kept trying to force the scene when I realized that the certain events leading up needed to change. The characters still got to the same place, but in a more natural way.

  2. I have a tendency to want to stick to the plan (when there is a plan), but like Deb pointed out, it's good to be able to take a step back and realize when something isn't working, even if it means a lot of rewriting. I guess that's where the old "kill your darlings" quote stemmed from.

    I've probably mentioned this before, but I like to think about the movie version of each story, because movies have to be more concise (or at least, they should be) and it helps me to see what scenes, characters, lines, can be cut and not take away too much from the story.

    (off subject) Arlene - I finished Far From the Madding Crowd last night and really liked it. It was interesting to see where Ms. Collins received some inspiration for the Hunger Games series as well.