Friday, December 23, 2011

Happily Ever After

And they lived…
Why can’t we use the term, “Happily ever after” anymore?

My writing style is a little different from most.  You know how your English teacher would give you all of these guidelines that you had to follow for each paper you wrote?  How many paragraphs, what had to be in each one, etc.?  Don’t get me wrong, I can do that kind of writing (though it is not as enjoyable to me).  But it mostly stifles my creativity!  Writing and following an outline does the same thing to me.  So hence, my novels have but a wee bit of ideas scribbled down in place of a formal outline.
So the secret is out.  I usually don’t know what the ending to my story will be until I get to it!  In fact, most of my writing flows to a certain extent, and the storyline unravels as I write.  I love the feeling that I get when I feel that I just can’t type fast enough as the ideas come from my mind and flow out my fingertips.  It is during those times that I am really zoned into the story and the characters literally come alive in my head.  And usually I can picture them like I would in a movie, and the dialogue just bubbles out.
And then I get stuck and I don’t know where the story is going to go.  This part I don’t enjoy so much…because then it becomes more like “work”.  At this point I have to consider a few different path possibilities, weigh the pros and cons, decide how my morals and values should be considered with each path and ultimately what I’m really trying to accomplish with the underlying message of the whole book.  During these times it is hard to focus and sometimes I even have to force myself to set aside some time to try to get back into the groove again.  A lot of this time is actually spent with me reading and rereading what I have already written to get the feel of the characters again and to hope that something will spark that flow of uninterrupted inspiration.  And quite honestly, I have been known to offer a prayer or two about the subject matter.  Interestingly enough, I knew after each of my completed novels were finished, that they were written specifically for someone in my life…and others like them that need to hear the specific message in the book.  But I didn’t know that while I was writing them.  So for me, when I’m stuck, after some coaxing, prodding and some divine intervention, it starts to flow again. 
I don’t know that I would recommend this style of writing, because consequently I end up having to go back to “fix” things that evolve in a certain direction that maybe wasn’t intended at the beginning or wouldn’t make as much sense with what was previously written.  But that is all part of how it works for me.  I enjoy the challenge (not necessarily in the “stuck” stage, but before and after in the actual “flow” stages).  So unfortunately this means that endings are really hard for me.  If it were up to me, the story would just continue to be a story and would go on and on.  Or it would be nice to just end everything with “they lived happily ever after”.  But that is not how it works.  Unfortunately.  I feel I have to write to my audience and entertain them, motivate them, make them smile or move them in some kind of way.
So just for you, I will remain “stuck” until some kind of inspiration leads me to every detail necessary to tell the story that needs to be told.  And there you have it.  It seems like a flawed process, but that is me.  For some reason I always have to do things the hard way.  You’d think I would learn.  But until then, the realness of the story will have to be enough…and for me that is all the happily ever after I need!