Storyteller Repost: Should I Follow New Twists and Turns As They Arise?

storyteller, writing, words, ideas, thoughts, imagining the story, story concepts, the next idea
A momentary pause allowing one thought to become another!

*Here’s another of those earlier posts I thank several of you for bringing to light again! I re-post it today in hopes it may spark something new in you, or me… or both of us simultaneously?

enlightenment, thoughts, observations, writing, novel, storytelling, ideas
Did you see that thought go by? Do we follow it?

Picture this: You’ve been writing for a bit now. The story you are currently working on is coming along just nicely, thank you very much. The characters feel right, the story itself feels right. Suddenly, out of the darkness (or brightness) of your imagination, the story decides to take a decidedly unexpected twist. It’s as though an element you didn’t expect to enter into the picture has in fact entered into the picture.

What would you do in a situation like this? I mean, depending on how far you’ve progressed in telling your tale, you may choose to follow this strange, new happening. Would you be as likely to do so if say you were wrapping things up? coming to what you only a week ago considered a ‘fitting conclusion to the drama at hand’?

There’s the old saying: ‘Honesty is the best policy’. Can it be the best policy in the realm of fictional storytelling? What does that even mean? Well, here’s my take:

Honesty in the realm of fiction means trusting that sudden, inexplicable turn. You know, the one you never saw coming and actually stepped out of your process to, um, PROCESS! Can you simply incorporate the new twist and let it take you where it may? I ask because it is something I find happening in my own writing more and more. I’m writing a  scene, seeing that outcome I KNOW is the right one when out of the blue –  BAM, change up.

tigers, wildlife, speak see hear, writing
The tiger is still, but stillness does not keep him from speaking, seeing, or hearing what he must! – K’lee L.

On a few occasions, the twists have been major level. The kind which seem to ask me to put it in reverse, go back to such and such paragraph, or scene, or idea, or spot of dialog, and change something I thought of as solid, able to withstand rewrites and everything!

I’ve to date followed every one of these major twists to my stories. I’ve followed them and guess what? I was eventually rewarded with something better, more concrete, more realistic, more believable. Hey, that’s just me, though…

… to be honest

K’lee L. © 2014

20 thoughts on “Storyteller Repost: Should I Follow New Twists and Turns As They Arise?

  1. I trust the honesty in my own writing. Sudden BAM moments do come up, in spite of my best planning and preparation. Sometimes the implications to the story are staggering. I need a day or two (or more) to re-examine where I am in the story and what I need to change in order to continue. But I trust the process, that creative piece of dynamite, and I’ve never ignored it. I think it makes the story more fluid and honest, because it makes it more real to the writer and, I think, the reader.

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    1. Wow. Thanks for this ‘food for thought’, Steven! Yes, I too am always learning to trust the process and to acknowledge it as process, something which must evolve and mature within me. I’ve yet to be disappointed when I find myself trusting these pathways…

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  2. Exactly. I’ve come around to the concept of “organic” writing. I’ll abandon an idea (or even several chapters) if it feels forced due to a preconceived notion that this is the way it should be. Let the characters and circumstances of plot guide the story. Even great ideas, if they’re wedged into the story to add impact, feel forced. I know that the plan is to get from Point A to B, but the process can’t be so rigid that it feels more like a road map than a real story. And I’m still, always, learning. Hope this makes sense… still on my first cup of coffee. 🙂

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    1. Excellent!
      I’m taking this all in, my friend and I’m just sitting down to a first cup too! I’ll be processing throughout the day…
      I just read a piece on making time to know your character’s motivations. The author suggested that in knowing why our characters wanted to move from point a to point b, progressing the story should never feel forced! I struggled with this concept more than a few times until I started putting this idea to the test. For me it’s working. I’m finding that even with a little ‘outlining of motivations’ I feel more comfortable and confident what comes to the page is in direct relation to what the characters want and need to say and do… My scenes feel more ‘organic’, free-flowing, and real. Hope I’m making sense!!!

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  3. Yep, very well. 🙂 I’m still learning how to write. I’ve been doing it most my life, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to tell a story. I read the advice, the lessons, and, while I don’t take everything at face value, I try to see if it can apply it to my own way of working. Some of it rings very true… your original post, for instance,and some of it doesn’t. It’s a craft, and everyone has their own unique voice. At the bottom of everything, I think the essential ingredient is to trust yourself. If it works for you, then it’s good. If it doesn’t, dig down until you can figure out why. Yours is the voice that matters. It’s your voice that makes it breathe.

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    1. How can you put these words on the page and say ‘you’re still learning how…’? I read your words and ‘hear the voice’ of a writer. I say this because there comes a time for all of us (in my humble obzervashun!) where we must own the gift, so to speak! Yes, I’ll read articles, and books to learn, to consider, to strengthen technique, but like you said, ‘in the end it’s about our own unique voice’… trusting it to manifest our stories… It’ll always be an awesome feeling to get approval from others on my creativity, but darn it, I better love it first or it means nothing! I believe this is the best form of selfishness we can cultivate and maybe the only one we should! The more we believe in us, the more others will pick up on the vibe… perhaps leading them to invest their time in us, our tales, our creativity… you’re right, it’s our voice that makes it breathe, but it’s our faith in Self that makes it SOAR! (…hope that’s not the coffee talking too much???)

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      1. Absolutely it’s faith in self… and that is the whole part of trusting your voice. Trusting your voice is confidence in your voice, that it rings true to you. I say I’m still learning, and I am, and I’ve come to trust my voice. I do own the gift, but with all things creative, isn’t there always that strange juxtaposition of selfishness/self-doubt? And that vibe… oh yeah, that’s definitely something you want to pass on to your readers. If you believe, they’ll believe. At the end of the day if you can say with an honest voice, “I believe in this, that this is good,” then it is. Readers will catch that vibe (I hope). 🙂

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        1. You, sir are spot on in your viewpoint as far as I’m concerned! My greatest hope for is that I always remember to ‘check in’ on myself, ready to reboot or reexamine whatever doesn’t feel like it’s a part of my ‘owning’ the gift(s). This way I’m always growing, always looking for a way to be just a little bit better than I was the day/week/month/year before!

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  4. That’s excellent self-advice. Do you have any major projects in the pipeline? Judging from the content of your blog, you’re a man of many diverse talents and passions. I’d really be interested in reading more.

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  5. I’m polishing up an older novel that I wrote a few years ago and working — slowly — on a couple more. I hope to publish the older one within a month, no time frame for the others. I’ll look for yours. I’m always interested in reading new work. You have the passion, my friend, and the right creative mindset to be very good. And that always sparks my curiosity. 🙂

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    1. I thank you for the support, Steven. It means more than I can say. I’ll be interested to read and stay posted on your work as well. As for my creative mindset, believe me, it’s taken time to cultivate, but I’ll keep it now that it’s joined me!

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    1. It can ring true for all of us, can’t it? In all areas of life and living, if we follow what’s real for us, what are passion is, we”l find the success and sense of accomplishment in what we do.

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    1. I keep having to jump from thing to thing, so am never on the WP for too long at a time! I will say thank you, Steven. I enjoy the interaction I’ve begun having with you. It’s nice to know we have thoughts, ideas, and creative pursuits in common and can share from those places. I think this is very important. I feel as though the last year was a ‘quantum leap’ forward for me in terms of creative pursuits leaving me with a desire to maintain the value level with all of them! My hope is we’ll both have a very productive, inspired, accomplished 2015!

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  6. It’s always exciting when you begin to see the fullness of your potential, exploring all those creative pursuits. Thank you too, K’lee. This interaction has been enjoyable. Writing is a solitary craft, so it’s great to discover someone with similar pursuits and interests.

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    1. You said it!!! I’ve been picturing my ‘creative self’ in a glowing embryonic, fetal position… waiting to be born and burst forth into the world… why? I don’t know, I just keep seeing that image and feel a need to honor it and protect it! You’re so right about the solitary nature of writing. While there’s a part of me that absolutely needs the solitude to create and visit my worlds, I enjoy contact too with like minds.

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  7. I’ve been writing for such a long time that I’m more experimental than I used to be. I love to play with different POV’s and time lines. It’s not a gimmick, it’s just the way my creativity has changed. When I was younger, I felt restricted by the “proper” way to develop a novel. But experience (and age) has freed me from any particular structure. It has to make sense, of course, contain some semblance of logic… self-indulgence is not the goal. It’s taking yourself and your readers on a journey, often with unexpected side roads and unmarked trails.
    I know what you mean about protecting that child. You nurture it and feed it your experiences, your dreams, your energy. What you create is, indeed, your child because it wouldn’t exist with that constant nurturing. And man, that is so exciting!

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    1. I’m convinced getting to a place in life where we honor and cherish the person we’ve become is of the highest importance! Like you I can also see ways in which I’m daring to tell stories ‘my way’, and yes that doesn’t mean I throw out all sense of proper storytelling, I just trust ‘the kid in me’, knowing rewrites are a part of the parcel! We try our best to develop a strong foundation in writing basics so when we tackle a story for real, we can do so confidently and surely.
      So glad you mentioned the ‘taking your readers on a journey’ part because it’s the other side of the coin and as important as the uncovering the story in the first place! I think you’ve got a very clear and distinct style to your writing and I know that comes from putting in the hours; making the sacrifices to your art. Perhaps the toughest thing for me these days is the juggling act of different projects. On the one hand, I’m glad to have chances to express it all, on the other is the setting of priorities, the ‘which is the more important to tackle today’ syndrome! Ultimately, I tend to feel my best so long as I AM creative and not setting it aside for too long…

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