Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm Just Along For The Ride

Happy Fourth Wednesday, Peeps!

Fall is here, and that change in season always leads me down a pensive path. I find myself lurking inside my head a lot, sorting things out. Mental fall cleanup, so to speak. And while considering blog topics, I realized something very specific.

Though I tend to be mostly a plotter when it comes to writing, for my YA series, the characters are totally in the driver's seat this time. It was a bit unnerving at first to have these fictional people vie for my attention, demanding their stories be told. I mean, I'M the author, I'M supposed to be in charge.

But as I've come to realize, that's just a bunch of hooey.

Somehow, these characters have come alive to me like no other ones I've written. I'm not sure if it's because I get to tap into all that teenage angst of my childhood, or if I'm just having fun creating them and their world. But as I write my Hell House stories, I find that I honestly don't always know where the story is going to take me.

As a plotter, this really freaked me out.

A bit of a control junkie, I even tried to force the flow of the words, to carve out a storyline that I thought would work. But each time, Sora Starwind or one of the other Hell House residents would pipe up and take me on a detour, which led to another detour, so on and so forth, until the words on the page resembled nothing at all what I originally had in my head.

After a few deep breaths and much internal dialog, I came to the conclusion that I was, in fact, not going crazy, but that I had stumbled into the world of the pantser, and that even though it was scary and unexpected, there was something freeing in giving up control to the characters and the story.

So I sat back, flexed my fingers, and braced myself for the ride. I still like to plot, mind you, but with Hell House, I've decided that I'm just going to let these guys take me where they want to. The life of a teenager is one big roller-coaster of emotion, new experiences, and tough choices. They never know what might happen next, so why should I? It only seems fair that I go on the same journey with them.

I'm just along for the ride. And hopefully, you will be too.


Anonymous said...

GREAT post, Christle; I LOVE that part of the journey, and part of the writer's "journey" is giving yourself permission to enjoy whatever inspiration you might find along the way!

Christle Gray said...

Yeah, it was a bit hard to give up control at first, but now it's thrilling! Thanks for stopping by, Rusty!

J.A. Campbell said...

Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. I'm usually a Pantzer but my next novel I'm sort of plotting.

Good luck!!!


Ella Grey said...

You know I've always been plot driven, maybe that's where I'm going wrong with this YA I'm working on. I've gotten to a point where a shops been mention. I never wrote down anything about a shop when I was plotting.
I guess it's time to let Cassandra take the lead.

Great post :)

Kimber An said...

Great post! I remember when this first started happening to me that the time had finally come to pursue publication. This is how I *knew* it. Of course, I still had a lot of work and learning to do, FOUR years in Queryland, before my first contract, but this is when I knew it was time.

Seleste deLaney said...

It's always scary when you're used to knowing where the story is going to go to let the characters take the lead. It can be a lot of fun though too. Enjoy the ride :)

Julie Particka