viernes, 7 de marzo de 2014

Five Stages of Writing* (Editing): Acceptance

2 comentarios
I’ve heard of the five stages of grief, we all have, but I’ve been thinking lately that there are, quite possibly, five stages of writing as well. (If not writing, then editing, at least. Yes. That works). They might even be the same stages. But, even if they’re not (and I’m not getting into that right now), what I’m sure is that the last stage of pretty much anything in life is this: acceptance.

Sounds profound, and yet, I promise you, it’s not. Most of us write because we have to, because there’s a story that needs to be told, and some days we feel like we’re merely the vessel. It’s the universe that’s dictating the story. And, yet, when we’re done, when inspiration dries out and your brain comes into play, the inevitable problems begin.

Why is my character doing that? What the hell is he thinking? I’ve often been faced with a blank when I try to examine my characters motives. It’s not that I don’t know the answer to these questions, it’s that I don’t realize I know the answers to these questions. The universe did not dictate the story, after all. I wrote it. I should know. Except I haven’t given it any thought. So, in truth, I don’t know.

That’s easy to fix, I tell myself. Just sit down and think about it. Except thinking and writing don’t go together. Not really. Thinking is for editing, and editing is all good, except when it’s not. Except when you overthink, not the plot (If you’re going to overthink ANYTHING, make it the plot), but the characters.

Characters are like children. (Or what I imagine children would be like). You don’t have to understand them. You don’t have to agree with them. And, if you try too hard to mold them according to your desires and expectations, then they’ll just be miserable.

So, to sum it up: You don’t have to understand your characters. You just have to love them, as they are.

Acceptance. What a weird concept, especially under the circumstances. Characters are not real, a non-writer would tell them. You create them. In a way, they’re you. And part of that might be true. But you don’t do it consciously. You pick a name and a hair color, but the rest, the rest just comes together, part magic, part dedication. I don’t know how it happens. I just know it does.

Well, no, that’s not all I know. I also know (now) that, once all of that happens, that’s when the hard work begins. The hard work of understanding your characters, of following them down the path that you chose for them while making sure they stay true to themselves. For, as someone smarter than me said “the best thing one can do when it's raining is let it rain.” 

And get an umbrella.

2 comentarios:

  1. It's been a while, huh? I've never said this before but I love your blog. I do. I love the way you write, your sense of humor and even your love-hate relationship with the writing process. Please, keep writing. Don't ever stop.

  2. You've made my day! Now I feel like writing another entry... Thank you.:)


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