Writers are strange. We live in our own heads while trying to get in to the mind of figments of of our imagination. Some writers seem to be led by their plots, they stick to that outline or plan of the three (or four) acts, while others get derailed by their Frankensteinian creations; Characters who go off on a journey that completely ruins the story the writer set out to tell.
It has happened to a woman in my masters class. She made a comment about how a story should be character driven instead of plot driven. She’s so frustrated by a “misbehaving hero” she can’t control she wants to kill him off. I don’t know if it what she said was intentional, but it made me think that she moved over and let the hero slip behind the wheel–and he has no idea how to drive. He’s careening all over a twisting mountain road without brakes. I so love that idea. I’m going to run with that. It takes the sublime and underappreciated Stranger Than Fiction to a different level.
For me, writing is like putting together a puzzle without the picture on the top of the box, or finding a mysterious roll of film that I take into a darkroom and watch as the photograph develops (in this digital age, does anyone actually use a darkroom anymore?). From character to storyline, I love the process of development. It thrills me, holds me rapt, and infiltrates my headspace, which slots me right into the category of I’ll take Strange Writers for a thousand, Alex.
What it all comes down to is control. Some would argue an author plays God (or Goddess if you prefer). I think it’s just a matter of enjoying one’s own company. I don’t think it’s wrong to exist within the own vacuum of my mind. I get along with myself. I know what I like, what I want to eat, how long I’ll take in the bathroom, and what my taste is in music.
And right now I feel like dancing.
But shingles are kickin’ my ass and the dog wants his Kong.