Saturday, January 9, 2010

Writing like snowflakes...

It's fascinating how stories are written, or conceived, or imagined, or created. For each writer, there is a unique process. It seems no two writers write the same. We are as diverse as snowflakes, in this regard. Some use outlines. Some wait for inspiration to strike, tapping into the wire. Some let the story unfold in front of them, allowing the characters to lead them onward. I think I'm the latter...I love to see where the characters will go, what they will say, how they react to each other in the situation of the moment. I love when a story takes a turn and I have no idea where it's going. Well, I shouldn't say that. I have a vague idea of where it's going and how it will end but the meanderings in the middle can be random and adventurous. I love when a character says something that surprises me. It's like my fingers are flowing over the keys like a river and I have no control over the current. It carries me far away from the shore. To me, it's the best thing about writing; the surprises that happen when I'm not looking. Like soft snowflakes drifting from the clouds at the onset of a storm, landing on the frozen ground like jewels.

While working on my latest story, this happened. And it wasn't what the character said or did, exactly, it was something she didn't do. I was writing away when suddenly my main character, Tess, decided she wasn't going to eat her dinner. Instead she pushed it around her plate. Now this may not sound significant but it made me pause and wonder. Why wasn't she eating? She had made a wonderful salad with greens and tofu but, no matter, she wasn't eating and this was quite telling to me. This was her way of feeling in control of her somewhat, out of control, situation. And I didn't plan it. I didn't foresee it coming. No, not at all. Tess, had made up her mind at the dinner table that she was going to find a way to feel empowered. I have no idea how this will affect Tess and her story, but I'm eager to find out.

I'd love to hear about your meandering snowflakes...


  1. Oh, I love this telling detail you've added to your character. Gives shading. Even if Tess doesn't understand or articulate why she did it, the reader will pick up on it. Nice.

  2. Love the snowflake metaphor, it's so apt. And the new story sounds intrigueing. I can't wait to read it!