Whoever created this is a genius, had to share!
Choose your own outcome…
When I was little there was a children’s book I read, and in the book you got to choose what happened next. Such books were not new then, and they are still around now. I saw an adult version of this not very long ago. You know the kind…
Lots of exciting stuff has happened…do you:
- Open the door – go to page 64
- Turn around and walk away – go to page 72
This got me thinking about the writing process, and how, when we write, we sit out of time, as if we are sitting on the edge of countless parallel universes.
Nobody knows the exact way the book will turn out when they start to write. Writers are always talking about the way characters can surprise them, or how the story can twist unexpectedly. Our imaginations, our life journeys, our jobs and the people we spend time with can all impact the words we write on the page.
In what other ways, do we the writer, impact the story?
What if we sit down to write a chapter today, would it be the same chapter if we wrote it tomorrow instead? Would it be close, slightly different, or very different? And if it was different, could it shape the entire rest of the book?
Hence my parallel universe reference.
It’s a little mind blowing to think that if you sit down at your keyboard you may write a scene in a completely different way just because you are feeling particularly happy or particularly sad. And what if the phone rings and interrupts you, and when you come back you have decided that a character needs to die, or fall in love, or something else that you had no inkling of before.
It’s in that moment when you decide to stop writing, when you move away from your keyboard for whatever reason, must a new parallel universe inevitably pop up? Like a deck of cards on endless shuffle, or a kaleidoscope shifting sand, you never know exactly how the dice are going to fall until they do fall, or in writing terms, you sit back down at your computer. And when you do everything has shifted and you sit down to a different place and a different head space.
Every time we write a story, we could have written a million more.
Would those other variations have been better or worse or just different?
Life too, is full of choices and the consequence of those choices impact everything that comes after, so it seems only fair that our fictitious worlds should be subject to the same whims.
We might think that there are a million stories or a million lives we could have lived, but ultimately there is only one story, just as there is only one passage through our life, and that is the one we choose to write.
“You fail only if you stop.”
~ Ray Bradbury
“This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away.”
~ Anne Lamott
“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities, and have them relate to other characters living with him.”
~ Mel Brooks
“Most people carry their demons around with them, buried down deep inside. Writers wrestle their demons to the surface, fling them out onto the page, then call them characters.”
~ C.K. Webb
“The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.”
“Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?”
~ Cornelia Funke
“The writer’s curse is that even in solitude, no matter its duration, he never grows lonely or bored.”
~ Criss Jami,
“Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.”
~ Rod Serling
“Writing, real writing, should leave a small sweet bruise somewhere on the writer . . . and on the reader.”
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“Blessed are the weird people:
poets, misfits, writers
mystics, painters, troubadours
for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.”
~ Jacob Nordby,
I’m with Bugs Bunny every time. Well, maybe not necessarily the swift part, I’m okay with revenge of all kinds in a book.
And so should every writer be
Building conflict is a natural part of writing. Take every opportunity to drive a little more drama for our heroes and heroines. Explore every option to pile on the pressure, take away safety nets, and keep your readers guessing at motives and intent.
It isn’t always easy to provide surprises, but that doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for the reader. As the saying goes the first draft is you telling yourself the book. Once you know the way the story will play out, walk through again and generously sprinkle red-herrings, weave subterfuge, and turn up the heat.
Yes, we need the balance of the good, the empathetic, and the kind, but they will shine so much brighter if you dump a little darkness on the other end of the scale.
Surprise yourself with just how dastardly you can be.
Cultivate a ‘What if’ mentality.
- What if I pull this leaver?
- What if I break that?
- What if he is lying?
- What if she is telling the truth?
- What if I take away this?
- What if this happens?
- What if this doesn’t happen?
You’re a writer, you need to give your inner bastard some air time.
Be mean. Be cruel. Be utterly wicked.
Think of the worst possible thing that could happen. The thing you would dread. The thing that would make you yell ‘NO’ if it happened to you.
And then do it.
And then do it again.
Happy writing conflict 😈
Lovely new review for Divided Serenity 🙂
I’m really not a sc-fi fan but the imaginative world and interesting characters helped made this book somewhat likeable. I had a little trouble keeping up with the story as I stopped many times in-between. But I’m really more impressed by how the author came up with this elaborate alternative universe. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I am guessing not everyone will share my sentiments, but for me, there is great comfort in being quiet when writing. I write best when I am sitting in my little pod office, with the lovely view of trees, and…absolute quiet.
My husband used to be incredibly noisy, which did present some problems on occasion! Recently, he has become an avid reader (he reads way more than I do now!) and I am delighted that he does this in the quiet. For the most part, when I am writing, I am left alone in this noiseless state. I do deviate occasionally, but more on that below…
E.B. White “I never listen to music when I’m working.”
I am a self aware introvert. I accept this is what I am. That said, this desire for silence is a little extreme even amongst the introvert brigade. A few years ago I read the aptly named ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain, a book all about being an introvert. In it, she talks about her writing routine, and she found it more productive to sit in a coffee shop to work on her book. The background chatter, and the unobtrusive presence of people helped her to focus. For her, too much isolation was actually a bad thing.
The concept of writing anything of worth while listening to pop music is beyond my comprehension. But E.L. James found Will.I.Am blasting in the background an inspiration when tackling her ‘naughty’ scenes! Each to their own…
Classic music can create a powerful mood in a movie, but what about when we write? I do have a few pieces that I enjoy occasionally when I want to create a pull in a particular emotional direction. I am not alone in this one…
Chill-out tunes / a beat without words
This is probably one of my favorite deviations from silence. I love things with a good beat if I’m writing an action scene. It’s a great tool for visualisations!
A final shout out to the ambient music. Birds, wind, waterfalls, waves, the stuff you hear when you go to the spa…if you go to a spa, that kind of thing. Ambient music is all about creating a mood. There is generally no beat to it (although there might be), just drifting notes that (hopefully) create a strong or peaceful mood.
So, what do you write to?
Thoughts and suggestions? Have I missed any obvious ones? What do you like to write to?
always nice to pick up a few tips for writer’s block 🙂
by Felicity Annora
W R I T E R ‘ S B L O C K S & B R I C K W A L L S
Creative motors are sputtering, you ran out of enthusiasm water, and there’s a lot more dead ends then you remember seeing on the map. Where did all the brick walls come from?
Lucky for you, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that very well might make your blocks disappear with a poof!
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Most people carry their demons around with them, buried down deep inside. Writers wrestle their demons to the surface, fling them out onto the page, then call them characters.”
People are contradictory by nature, driven by emotions that manifest themselves in actions defying logic or reason.
We are ancient beings trying to live in a modern world, fighting buried instincts that we defeat only some of the time.
Our failings, and our strength to rise above them, are what makes us so interesting.
Our emotions can make us altruistic, and brave, but they can also make us monsters.
Our cognizance of our inner demons is what separates us from the beasts. It is what makes us human.
As writers we love to explore those inner demons and angels, and what keeps us hanging between the two worlds of instinct and moral code.
From the petty jealousy to the rage that can drive us to kill.
From our ability to appreciate fine art to a parent’s love.
Emotions in all their manifestations, their consequence and their repercussions, give writers a reason to write.