Sometimes we know exactly where a story is going to go. Sometimes, we don’t.
For readers, this can make for a fascinating story. For writers—or this one, anyway—it can be like riding a rollercoaster in the fog, while trying to lay the track.
Often we don’t have any choice about what the Story Council sends us—as Robin McKinley describes it—or when, and we just try to connect the plot points as best we can.
But sometimes our Councils leave us on our own. We have to choose.
Those are the interesting times.
Should our MC pick this love interest or that love interest—or both? Behind closed doors, or on the kitchen counter?
Should we have our MC win out against all odds or learn a life lesson—or neither?
Would it be better for the story if the grandmother lives on or dies (almost) alone while the MC is dithering about the sense of walking through the woods, alone, dressed in bright red? Will the MC dither on in her grief or put on her Big Girl Boots, heft a woodcutter’s axe, and go hunting?
Which one of our many suspects with equal motive and opportunity is the murderer? Do we even know?
Which one of our darling, well-drawn, and sympathetic characters should Whomever -It-May-Be murder in which temperature blood to galvanize or demoralize the others? And shall we use poison this time, a knife, a car, a jealous lover, or use the power of suggestion to drive them all to their inevitable and satisfying demise?
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHaHaHahahahahahuhhhhcough-cough-hack choke gasp . . .
At this point, if you like, you’re welcome to choose to make your own analogies about life being one big Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, etc., etc.
I’m going to choose to leave well enough alone. And watch this once again:
6 thoughts on “Choosing our own adventures”
My whole life I’ve been in control. Nowadays, not so much. I feel kind of like I did when I was pregnant. Like a vessel.
I’ve found that control is often an overrated illusion for me.
When I was pregnant, I felt like an aquarium stand. But at least I was never alone.
“… it can be like riding a rollercoaster in the fog, while trying to lay the track.”
That’s the most perfect analogy for writing, ever.
I owe the fog part to Anne Lamott. 🙂
I used to love the Choose Your Own Adventure series as a kid…yet it can be overwhelming at times with how much choice and control we have over our stories. What if we choose wrong?? I guess that’s what revising is all about. (Sounds like you still have the pernicious ick — hope you feel better soon!)
I don’t know if there’s a One Wrong Move in writing—I hope not.
And I’m still coughing and sneezing like a big coughing, sneezing thing—today’s post may whine about that just a little, if nothing better (please forgive the expression) comes up.