Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Muddle...

“Many modern novels have a beginning, a muddle and an end.” - Philip Larkin

And, wouldn’t you know, that’s just where I tend to get bogged down – in that muddle. I can start off with a bang and I know just how I want things to end up – it’s all that “stuff” betwixt & between that slows me down, makes me doubt my abilities as a writer and causes me to gnash my teeth and pound my head against the desk in frustration.

I love creating characters. I can do it all day long. I can give them emotional depth, emotional baggage, backgrounds, families, and all the joys that come along with each of those particular fields. I can picture the perfect counterpart for that character, giving them the same life, breadth, etc., as the first character. I can picture interactions between them and know whether they’re going to “strike sparks” or “fizzle.”

I can take those characters and put them in a story. But then I seem to lose control of them. They go off and do their own thing, leaving me sitting at the computer saying, “But wait, that’s NOT where I wanted this story to go.”

They don’t seem to care, they just go along their merry way, taking the wrong exit off the freeway I’ve planned for them and ending up in a “muddle” somewhere neither of us expected! Granted it’s usually somewhere “interesting” and occasionally gives the story new depth – though sometimes it’s just somewhere “weird” and I have to gently or forcibly steer them back to the path originally planned for them. (Wow, that’s almost like raising a teen! )

It is entirely possible that THIS is why I get into a “muddle.” It’s not the story that’s the problem; it’s the willful characters themselves causing grief! So will I stop? I think not. Eventually we work our way through the muddle and make our way to the end. After all, what would the story be without the happy ending?

Happy Writing.


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