Are you in control?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Hannah Jenny
Posts: 2
Joined: October 5th, 2010, 12:49 am

Are you in control?

Post by Hannah Jenny » October 5th, 2010, 1:35 am

This is a question to all the writers out there about your perception of the writing process. When you're working out a plot, do you feel that once you have created a character and placed that character in a situation that that character acts for himself, in disregard of your plans for his existence? Or do you continue to have complete control over the occurrences in the story? Do you feel that the course of the story--once you have a general idea of it and have gotten a good start--is predetermined by you, or determined by you as you go along, or determined by the rules of the world and the story and just what is "bound" to happen, as if the story preexisted you and you are simply discovering it?

Now, I don't know about you, but even though in life I prefer to be in control (not that I manage it, mind you), in writing I prefer not to be. Sure, I came up with the original idea (I don't mean original idea in the sense of no one having had a similar one before, just in the sense of the first thought that I had when working on a story), and I first envisioned these particular characters, but once I have started really writing, it's more a process of figuring out how the characters act, figuring out how the story works. It really doesn't feel as if I'm deciding; I have more of a sense of discovery.

I would love to hear more about the perspectives of other writers on these issues. Once you've started a story, is there a "right" and a "wrong" way for it to work out, or is there more than one way that can work? It's always seemed to me very strange that some writers (this is how it appears from my perspective) have the ability to impose a particular direction, incident, or character action into their work from the outside (i.e. themselves) rather than, past a certain point, being stuck with what feels natural to the story, independent of whether it is what they, the writer, would have liked to write about. I feel that my understanding of the "other" way of doing things is very limited; and, of course, I'd always love to hear about people who do see it the same way I do!

Posts: 122
Joined: February 12th, 2010, 7:34 pm

Re: Are you in control?

Post by Steppe » October 14th, 2010, 1:33 am

I always have an end game. A final goal that the pro-goalers offense achieves or the anti-goalers defenders block.
Then I can allow the writing game to proceed as if I am participating in a unique experience that I do not know the final outcome for certain.

I chart could be drawn on a page with a medium block at the top center.
Draw two lines outward and then a full 90 degree turn to bottom with two blocks one for achieved and one for not achieved at the lower corners.
A box can then be placed at the bottom with no lines attached labeled according to preference: partial victory / unknown outcome / quest abandoned.

Stack your supporting cast in boxes below the protagonist or band of protagonists. Each line drawn or added to character map is a chapter gauge-meter detailing whether the quest is succeeding or faltering,

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