Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P is for Pirate Ninjas with a Spaceship

Nilanjana Bose left an apt comment on my N is for Names post.

She said, "Not just that characters name themselves, they mostly tell me their stories as well."

And, well, yes. Absolutely. Many, many writers have talked about getting stuck on a scene they had planned. Lord knows I've been there. You try and try to make it work the way you want, the way you planned since you started plotting, but it just isn't happening. The only way to fix it is to go back to the last point it was working and start over, because even though you're the writer, you're not writing the right story.

Non-writers will say, "But you're the writer, just make it the way you want," and the majority of us will say, "It doesn't work that way." Because in a way, our characters ARE telling us their story, and trying to tell them what to do is as if you jumped into a friend's recounted tale and gone, "And then you were kidnapped by pirate ninjas with a spaceship?" They're going to look at you and go, "No." It's just like that when writing and the characters have taken over the tale. We the writer are not in charge anymore. It's just us, our pens and keyboards, and whatever story the characters have to tell now, outlines be damned. It's a fascinating phenomenon in writing, and it happens to the best. Even Tolkien admitted as much, recounting how, when Strider appeared in Bree, he had as much idea who he was as Frodo.
So yeah, even the best, the greatest, the classics, told the story to their author as much as the author told it. And I have absolutely no idea why.

1 comment:

  1. I've had times when I was writing and something I wrote made me sit back and go "huh, I didn't know that." That's part of the fun of being a panster for me.

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author