I have two novels in progress. Yes, at the same time. And before all you veteran writers out there slam your fists on the table and start scolding me, you might as well admit that you’ve done it too. But all of that has nothing to do with today’s post.
One of my novels is a post-WWII literary piece that was supposed to be a story about a young mother searching for her baby girl. She is driven by love for her child and will stop at nothing to get her back. Okay, sounds simple, right? Wrong. There is underlying evil here that I had not anticipated, at least not in the full-blown way it’s taken over the story. And it’s ugly. Really ugly.
How did this happen, you ask?
I’m not one to do a whole lot of outlining before I set out to write. I was very relieved to learn that Diana Gabaldon of Outlander fame also doesn’t outline. No lie. She told me so herself. Although I make lots of notes for whatever story I’m working on, there is no real outline as such, and the story has the freedom to go where it wants to go. Sometimes it’s just not where I want to go.
Back to the girl looking for her baby.
This has become an awful recount of wife-battering and physical abuse, a tale of unforgiveness and revenge. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t want to go there. But my once-innocent Julia begged to have her story told. She needed me to tell it so that she could find peace, finally, and her much deserved happy ending.
It’s hard to write this novel. So much emotion wells up inside me when I sit down to type the words. I see what Julia sees and I feel what she feels. Sometimes I can’t see my computer monitor through the tears.
No, this is not where I wanted to go.
But how could I go anywhere else?
2 responses to “This is NOT Where I Wanted to Go!”
I find I have the same problem when I write. My characters tend to hijack my story and take me to places I had not intended to go. Most of the time the direction they take the story is interesting. But what if you really don’t want to go there? what if you can’t get control of the story and it’s gone way off track … then what?
Good question. I can’t speak for other writers, but I just let the hijacking characters run with it while I keep writing. Even if I don’t end up where I wanted to go I still have some darn good stuff that I can usually use elsewhere in the story, or even in another story altogether. The advantage we have as writers is that we can always go back to the place where the story derailed, so to speak, and start again. But I’ve learned to tread carefully with that because maybe those characters knew better in the first place!