When Stories Have a Mind of Their Own

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Lately I have been pretty busy, which means I haven’t had as much time to work on my story. It has been in the back of my mind, and I have been thinking about it here and there, I did some basic research and character outlining, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and make any plot progress.

Luckily I have had more free time this week than I have in the past, so I decided to revisit some of the scenes I had already written. I do this a lot. I write a scene and then I rewrite it until I am sick of it instead of moving forward with the story. But, this time I feel like my rewrites actually had some merit in them. I have three scenes that I feel comfortable with for now. They look different from what I first posted on here around New Year’s. The next job is figuring out what happens next.

I always find this part of writing a story to be interesting, because sometimes you know what you want to happen. You know what the character will do, or what they will think. But sometimes that changes on you. I have had that happen a few times in this story, and its always an interesting process. For example, I knew that Allie (used to be named Iris) would travel back in time. But I didn’t know that she would faint once she got there (The Aurora can have an interesting effect on people). Once she did though it made perfect sense though. I have never fainted but if I was uprooted from a classroom and dropped into a wheat field in the middle of no where after floating in an abyss with colors out of this world, I would probably faint too.

In my rewriting process, other characters became more clear as well. Professor Morris, the physics teacher, became clearer in my mind by the way he talked. He is kind of a hopeless romantic professor who is amazed by the inner workings of our world and our lives. I had a third scene that I added in which Allie took a placement test for her classes, but that turned into an advisor meeting with one of her professors. I liked this more because Allie hadn’t really spoken much in the first few scenes, and this gave me a chance to see more of her character and what she is like. It also established another relationship between her and a professor, who will play an important role when they travel back in time – she’s a history teacher, after all.

Writing can surprise you sometimes. At times you feel like you know what will happen, you are the writer and creator of the story after all, but then the story turns in another direction and you are just trying to put the pieces together.

I would say that in my story Allie definitely needs a lot more work/backstory. She doesn’t really have a reason to stand out as a protagonist other than the fact that she is the only freshman in many of her advanced classes. I have some ideas brewing though, and I’m excited to see where they take me.

Also, yesterday I went to see the Impressionism: Art and Modernity exhibit at the Met where they displayed fabulous dresses from the late 1800’s. These dresses aren’t the fashions that were in style during World War I, but they are somewhat similar and it made me really excited to delve into that era!

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One thought on “When Stories Have a Mind of Their Own

  1. Nice post. I’m just coming to the end of my first draft now… and I’m actually looking forward to re-writing for the second draft. Maybe I’m crazy to think that. At the moment, I’m still enjoying surprising myself with how I’m approaching the story every day so I just hope I can continue to do that during the re-writing process.

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