“Every book contains a secret – even the writer doesn’t always know what it is.”
– Carla H. Krueger
After meeting my goal for the month of May, I’ve been on a roll and have even started working on this month’s word-count goal! I’ll probably start to procrastinate soon though and leave the rest until the last minute again, but at least I am actually meeting my goal each month, so get off my back!
Anyway, while I was searching for some inspiration for this week’s blog post, I came across the quote that is at the top of this post and it exactly described what I have been experiencing lately in my current WIP, An Anguished Heart.
A few weeks ago I wrote the post, I Already Know What Will Happen, discussing that, for the most part, I know how the story progresses and how it ends. However, no matter how detailed your plan might be or how sure you are of the details,the characters are constantly surprising you, letting you in on their secrets as the story progresses. Often, and more so lately, I will be writing a particular scene that I have already planned out in my mind (that’s where most of my planning is done, I always have good intentions of writing down a plan but it never really eventuates), but when I’m finished, or in the process of, writing it, I am completely surprised and find myself thinking, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!”
Some people, perhaps non-writers, will question this. They will wonder how on earth we, the ones who are supposed to be telling the stories, can be surprised by our own writing. They want to know why we didn’t know all the secrets of our characters and of their stories.
You see though, in their questions and wonderings, they have already provided an answer. We, the writers, are the ones telling the stories, our characters’ stories. We know the direction the story is heading (most of the time anyway) but it is the details that we discover along the way, the secrets, the seemingly insignificant things that completely alter the sequence of events that you thought you already planned.
Which leads me to share another one of my favourite quotes,
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
― E.L. Doctorow
It’s true, no matter how silly some people might think it sounds, it is not uncommon for the writer to be surprised by the stories they write. Just like if we were driving in the fog at night, we know roughly where the destination is, just like as a writer, we know where the story is roughly heading. However, when it comes to the details, we can only see as far as the “headlights” allow, but you definitely can “make the whole trip that way”, without a doubt.
So I will continue to write, I will continue to be surprised by my stories, the details that are exposed along the way, the secrets that are revealed as I journey towards my destination. Perhaps one day, there will be readers that will be just as (if not more) surprised as I am by the secrets of my characters and the stories that they share.
© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.