This is a lesson I have been learning as I work on my novel. For the most part of my story line, I have lived quite a bit of it in my head before I sit down to type it onto the actual page. My characters are people to me and I know their thoughts, feelings, what they would or would not say-MOST of the time. There are times that I am typing a chapter and scene and those characters do surprise me. You have to give your characters, your imagination, some breathing room when you are writing. I find that to be when a beautiful magic happens on the page, within the story, within my characters’ lives. Those moments make me catch my breath and realize that I am just the avenue in which this story has chosed to get out into the world. For me, that is humbling, frightening, and exhilirating.
But sometimes…sometimes, you guys, I want my characters to hurry up and get where I know they are going. I find myself rushing the scene a bit, taking them too quickly to a place that they are just not ready to go. What do I get when I allow that to happen? A mess. A headache. A moment (sometimes days worth of moments) of confusion and a question of “why won’t this chapter work???” Recently, when this happened, I realized I was taking the book to a place it wasn’t ready to go yet. My characters weren’t ready for that conversation. Oh, that conversation is coming, but I was in such a hurry for them to have it, for the tension to peak and some juiciness to occur, that I rushed the story. I realized that if I continued that I was robbing the reader of the details of the story. As well, this book would turn into a really bad short story instead of a really great novel.
Compare it to the best burger you’ve ever eaten (Yes, I know this is weird…). You have the basics-2 buns and the meat. Put on a plate, a paper napkin, for some of you just your hand…:) It’s a burger. With or without any of the additions or condiments, it’s still a burger. A plain one, a boring one in my opinion, but still a burger. If you are starving, or in a really big hurry, it would do so to say. But…take those basics and add the juicy goodness of veggies and condiments, and that burger changes from “just a burger” to “Holy cow! This is the best burger I’ve ever eaten!” Yep, that’s what slowing down when I write sometimes does for me. I don’t want just a plain burger novel. I want a “Holy Cow, this is the best novel I’ve ever read, give me more of that juicy goodness PLEASE” novel. One that people want to linger over and savor and taste…Seriously. But in order for them to want to slow down and savor it, I have to slow down sometimes and savor it as I write it. I have to choose to not be in such a hurry for my characters and their story to just Get There Already!!
I’m wondering what in your life, or your writing, you rush through to just get there already?