Imposing External Order

I’ve been pondering the nature of exactly what art is of late…or rather, from what part of our consciousness art might arise. My writing career, such as it is, began with someone who dove into stories without any sense of direction. It seemed best to let the story dictate its own direction and grow organically. A problem arose, however: this approach made things collapse in on themselves late in the going. After losing a good novel to this when it became a tangled mess, I vowed to become a strict outliner and dictate absolute control over the process and the work. It was pretty successful, too. A few books were written using the process, but now there was a new problem to contend with; namely, that the stories were mechanically sound but had very little heart.

The concept itself and outlining were imbued with my interests, and it’s not as if there was no drive to tell the stories; a story wouldn’t be worth telling if I didn’t care about it. In retrospect, though, there was a definite layer of removal between author and story. So began a process of opening up to the characters and the story itself, once again letting the characters tell their tale, only this time through a first-person perspective and a strong voice and characterization. That layer of removal fell away and things became more engaging, but the problem now seems to be that the story is telling itself.

This is exciting, but also scary – what happens if the end of the story arrives and, yet again, things begin to crumble in on themselves? Is that then the time to assert authorial control? The problem there is that this story has absolutely refused any attempt at outside authorial influence. Every single time that authorial control has crept in, the story has ground to a halt, only picking back up when I realize that undue force is being applied, step back, and allow the characters to tell the story that they wish to tell.

The best thing to do, it seems, is trust in the process. It has been nearly 15 years since that collapse and the situation has changed immensely. Since then, I’ve become a true professional writer and my editing skills have improved immensely. Just a matter of conquering fear.

Today’s featured blog is the Best Damn Creative Writing Blog. The layout is pretty great, and there’s loads of information for both writers and readers – great reviews, interviews, and tips! This is the blog I want to have when my blog grows up.

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