Hello and welcome to another iteration of The Curious Idiot. The past week had been very kind to me on an inspirational level. This blog has accomplished its task of breaking me out of my own head. It was nice to take a break from blogging in order to make some solid strides on my story.
To the Point…
I had an interesting experience this week when I was writing a scene for my Sci-Fi Novel. Talking out your book with your support person(s) is a great way to get the ideas flowing. My Fiancé has a way of giving me the “I love you but that’s some crap your trying to dish out” look. Sometimes I can get ahead of myself and travel down a dark and scary path and need a sound mind to bring me back to a plausible reality. In this case we were discussing a character and (like a coconut from the sky) out came this idea that was too good not to use. I know it’s a good idea because after explaining it to her, I was met with an altogether new look.
She couldn’t believe that the character would do such a thing. That character hurt her feelings and is now permanently on her shit list. It was the first time that I had experienced this moment. At first I wasn’t sure if she liked the idea. I was just waiting for her to tell me not to use it. That never came. She had formed a connection with this character and now that vision was shattered. Still self conscious at this point I kept asking, “Are you mad at me or the character?” (I’m walking a tight rope but as of right now it’s not me.) This was wonderful news but poses a serious question.
How do you write good things about a person when you ultimately know the person’s going to be an A-hole?
I don’t really know the answer to that. I can’t help the fact that my brain is working in ways that I just can’t predict. I am a big dreamer. This novel is expected to turn into at least a three book series. (fingers crossed) The reveal that I came up with is not supposed to happen until at least the end of the next book if not the one after that. I know its getting ahead of myself but is it? Can I keep it together until that point?
I look at George R.R. Martin as one of my inspirations as a writer. I love Game of Thrones. It is filled with moments like that. The “Hodor” story arch still blows my mind. I remember when it happened. I didn’t understand how a secret like that could be kept across multiple books without so much as a hint and still be relevant. After the reveal my brain went back and forced me to see the world in a different light in the same way that a thriller a second time around changes how you see things.
My two pennies…
It’s moments like that which motivate me to write. I believe that over time there are going to be many more “ah ha moments.” Some of them will suck but some of them will definitely change the course of my story in ways I could never imagine.
Overall I think the best kind of writing happens this way. As a fiction writer I am constantly just winging it when it comes to details. Stuff just pops into my head, I write it down, take a step back, squint, and decide later if it makes sense enough within that story’s universe. Large plot reveals are no different. What I recommend to anyone starting out is to keep a separate “working document” dedicated to those
crazy special ideas in your head. Even if it may seem wild at first; you might find that it’s the missing piece to complete your story or give it that special edge.
These are raw moments that truly are special. Your story is like an organic being. As you grow so does it. Once your story is complete, trying to force those moments could ruin the thing you worked so hard to build. Either it will cause you to doubt the whole project shelving it forever, or you will spend countless hours revisiting your entire story scene by scene trying to staple these details in where they don’t belong.
At the end of the day despite the parlor tricks and the slight of hand, our readers aren’t dumb. A well placed story arc can be the difference between your book being thrown in the yard sale box, or placed on the mantle where I believe it belongs forever.