I have heard writers say that sometimes the story “writes itself”.
‘Sure,’ I always thought when I heard this kind of comment, ‘sure it writes itself’. I’d shake my head and scoff when I heard writers, authors, real published story teller types talking about how sometimes the story would go in a direction that they hadn’t intended.
‘Oh, brother,’ I always thought to myself. ‘How pretentious is that? The rest of us are slaving over every word, and Little Miss Novel Writer is telling us that her characters do all the heavy lifting and all she has to do is type.’
This stuff always sounded remarkably self-congratulatory and elitist to me. I was pretty damn sure that nothing like that would ever happen to me.
Then I started the ol’ NaNoWriMo challenge. You know, the one where you can’t stop to think, you just have to WRITE as if your butt is on fire and you’re trying to outrun the flames.
And guess what has happened to me twice now?
My main character, the woman in the photo above, decided not to go into the restaurant I intended to send her to. Instead, she walked into a little general store that she found on the same street. She met some people, had a good conversation, drank some coffee and walked back out the door.
What the hell?
Where did those people come from? Where did that store come from?
I don’t understand it, but it happened.
I felt like I was “spirit writing” or something. I felt like Annie, the character, was running the show. She didn’t want to go into the little breakfast place I had in mind. She apparently liked the look of the general store that I didn’t even know was there.
The same thing happened a couple of days later, too. I wrote a chapter where Annie was lost, driving around a small town in Maine. I thought she’d stumble on a little Inn and spend the night, but then she drove past a grocery store. She decided to go in for directions, and she met a young man in there who gave her the directions to his Aunt’s B&B. I didn’t think him up, but there he was. She liked him. I did, too!
I think he might be appearing later on in the story, but I’m not sure. I mean, I am clearly not the one in charge!
What a strange and awesome experience! (Even if I do sound pretentious…..!)