Monday, January 12, 2009

Cultivating the Capacity to Let Go

Ever get that nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach when your story seems as if it is taking a direction of its own? That may be just what's happening. When a work wants to be something other than what you thought, it's important to cultivate the capacity to let go.

The concept of cultivation means work, like gardening. In this case, we writers cultivate our ability to let go of the direction we thought our story should take. It could be a minor deviation, or a complete detour, but the ability to let go takes work.

Initially, the change in direction can feel like impending chaos. If the story doesn't go the way I thought, then how should it go? For times of doubt, and to enable the work to speak to me, I go back to the six journalism questions, the five ws and an h of what, who, where, why, when and how. The arrangement of the questions varies, depending on what I need to address. I ask what I need to change, who (which characters) will be affected by the change, where in the story (in one place, or throughout) the change should occur, why the change seems important, when it should take place, and how I will bring it about.

For the best way to answer these questions, go to the first tip at the bottom of this blog. As always, let us know how it goes.

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