Monday, August 10, 2009

Seeing Around Corners: The Bend in the Road Perspective

Sometimes you don't know your character's next move or your plot's next turn until you arrive at that moment in the story. Of course, sometimes you don't know until after, but we'll save that observation for another time. Have you ever walked a familiar path, thinking, I know the turn is here somewhere — I've been down this way before? The spot may be overgrown or hidden by a trick of the light, but for whatever reason you can't see the place until you're on it. So, too, with stories. Despite plot treatments and character studies, despite planning and research, sometimes it's impossible to see how to direct the story or depict a character until you're in the moment. It's the organic nature of storytelling. Since you last traveled your story, weeds have grown in the text or your mental landscape has changed. But don't despair; it happens to everyone, especially if you're a writer who takes the road less traveled. "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference," from "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost.

To find that bend in the road and not lose your way, check out the writing tip at the top of the list — and let me know how it goes.

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