Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Story Takes Charge

Sometimes It Just "Happens" 

I am working on what should be the final novel in The Saga of Magiskeep, The Fifth Dragon. 

I started, as I always do, with a general plot plan which included the basic premise and the grand finale.  I'm still heading in that direction--no plot spoilers here. But, once again, the story seems to be taking charge.

Just how does that happen? I suspect that somewhere in every author's brain there lurks a little gremlin that's always thinking and making connections between ideas and images in a storyline.

I remember speculating on this in my college literature classes. We'd discuss a certain imagery in a piece of literature and part of the consideration was whether it really was something the author consciously intended or something created by his/her natural writing skills.

I'm beginning to think it's really a combination of both. My current novel has four simultaneous plots going on at the moment. They are connected and relevant to the main plot, sort of "branches of the same tree."  To say I go out on a limb with them might be appropriate at times, but somehow, the common thread, the tree trunk, if you will, holds them together. Images and symbols in each one reflect what's going on in the others. In fact, as it's turning out, what's happening in one subplot actually helps to develop what's happening in another.

Is it deliberate? Sometime it is and sometimes it's pure serendipity. It's my little writing gremlin at work and I must admit, at times he surprises me.  I remember when I was working on Kingdom 
Beyond the Rim,
the first novel in the Saga how I'd be writing a scene only to find my brain light up with, "Hey, that's really cool how what that character just said reveals the answer to that secret I just posed in the last chapter." I hadn't planned it all out, but the situation of plot and the character's personality just seemed to lead to the right end.

It's happening again, perhaps even moreso with this current effort. That may be because now the world of Magiskeep has been fully realized and defined, as have the main characters. Both the world and the people already in it demand they have their own way no matter how I might try to push them to some contrary position. Their actions, responses, beliefs are inevitable and, the nice thing is, they fit perfectly into the story I'm weaving.

I'm sure we'll all run into a few conflicts now and then. And there is a new cast of characters and a new "world" in this novel to contend with, so nothing gets stale in my mind. But the Magic still rules, and Jamus remains the man he has become in the six previous books. He and his companions dictate the story's direction, no matter where I may have expected it to go.

I'm not so sure I'm actually doing the writing any more. Instead, my characters and that little gremlin seem to be taking charge. At this point, it's all becoming as much of an adventure for me as I hope it will be for my readers.

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