Another Saturday passed away without my posting on this blog. What’s up with Keith? You might ask—not much. I just haven’t been able to think of any object lessons you could use, that would help you to become a better writer.
I’ve been gathering my wits lately. Trying to get back into a rhythm. In a previous post, I talked about flaking out. I don’t want to go into the causes of that failure. Besides, you are not my therapist, and this is a blog about writing.
I got most of my cookbook edits back now, so I will be submitting it soon. It’s time to finish shopping The Hillside. Starcrossed is going in the e-mail. All my finished manuscripts are going out now, or in final stages of preparation. My National market book is in third draft and I love it.
The Trophy is going to critique and my partners love the story. I stare at the manuscript that predicted my daughter’s life, hoping to rewrite and submit, but it scares me. Still, I’m going to fix, and get it out there.
In trying to be productive, I’ve found many more things that needed doing. Discouragement will not be an issue. I’m moving forward.
Now, a little food for thought. How many of you, as writers, can’t find the switch to turn it off? Do little things or objects spark long scenarios in your mind? Do you speculate about the life story of every person you pass on the street? Are you usually right? Well, me neither, but I get it right more than half the time. If you saw the bag on the floor in my house, what would your mind make up about it? Would you think that a cat urinated on it, making it stink, but its leather, and I can’t just throw it away.
If you do these things, then chances are, you are a writer. Making up scenarios is an occupational hazard, or a blessing, depending on your perspective. I saw an example of this recently. My wife had to briefly go to work on Sunday, so I drove her there on our way to church. I wrote in the car, while I waited for her.
While driving into the parking lot, we passed a pile of brown stuff that I assumed was wheat. Further investigation confirmed my suspicions. How many of you would, (from a distance) recognize the wheat for what it was? Apparently, some wouldn’t. It depends on your experience.
The point, however, isn’t recognition, but your explanation. Because she is a custodian, my wife wondered who put it there and why? Basically, it was a mess she will have to clean up. In answer to her question, my mind provided several scenarios. The one I’m using is this, Since it was Saturday, and spring, somebody was doing the spring-cleaning. They found weevils in the wheat and poured it out on the pavement, hoping to save a portion of the grain. What they left behind wasn’t savable.
Simple and to the point, but the other stories were rich in imagination. It’s the other stories, to which I refer for this article. When your mind races toward different scenarios, embrace the phenomenon. Don’t try to turn it off. We writers have a name for it. We call it plotting.
To my horror last week, I, once again, lived a chapter from a book I wrote. I first wrote about this experience back in October of 2012 in the blog post called, Be Careful What you Write—it Might be your Script.
Parts of that story came back and slapped me in the face, the other night. Not in a good, editorial way, but as I lived the plot. Many of us write from our experiences, but how many of us experience what we write?
Because of privacy issues, I won’t tell you the details. Suffice it to say I keep living the plots I wrote in a story fifteen years ago. It’s a coming of age story about a girl and her father and it’s haunting me.
The manuscript was rejected when I submitted it, and I’ve always planned to re-write to resubmit. To that end, I got into it about a year ago, but had to stop. I realized the similarities and I couldn’t bare to see my daughter go through all, that.
Fast forward to last week and the incident I lived through. To my chagrin, the déjà vu
was almost unbearable. I was proud, however, to find myself doing the things my character did.
I’m still a little afraid of the plot I wrote, but I realized the real life details could improve the story. Of course I’ve got to write the improved version, but I might wait until my daughter grows up.
I’ve been writing stories for so long, I guess it was bound to happen. I hope it doesn’t happen again. Has this ever happened to you?