Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Prodigal Story

By Darvell Hunt

Stories that have unexpected U-turns can be a good thing. Readers hate predictable plots and they don’t sell well. We generally always like surprise turns in a good story.

Unfortunately, writers have a different type of U-turn that can be annoying and not at all enjoyable.

I’m working to write a novel this month, according to Tristi Pinkston’s “Novel in a Month Challenge.” Much to my disappointment, I found that I didn’t like where my story was taking me and I began looking for another direction to go. Frankly, I think I missed a hidden left turn a few miles back.

As such, I’m probably not going to reach my goal of completing a novel this month. I feel that it’s better sometimes that we, as writers, take a few steps backwards, or maybe even make a U-turn if it’s necessary, to make sure our story ends up where we think it should.

As most writers know, stories can and do take on a life of their own. Most of the time, that’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s not. All my stories seem like my babies to me. Sometimes when they grow up, they begin to go down wayward paths and become lost. When that happens to my stories, I often find myself asking, “What on earth happened?”

In these cases, I try to take steps to correct the wayward story and, sometimes, I just have to let it go and forget about it.

I’m hoping to find that my current project becomes “the prodigal story,” or a story that will return to the right path once I figure out what went wrong. When it’s back on track, I plan to celebrate by killing the fatted calf and having a satisfying feast.

No comments: