When a Project Ambushes You…

Recently, I was quite thoroughly and inexplicably ambushed by a project of epic proportions.

What is this project, you ask?

Well, apparently, I’m now writing a musical.  I can’t give you all the details, because it’s still a very early work in progress, but I can say that I never expected myself to write a musical. Even less so did I expect to be ambushed by a project I wasn’t even sure I wanted.

That brings me to the theme of today’s blog post.

What I like to call an “ambush” project is any project that springs to life seemingly on its own. You wake up, and WHAM! it hits you like an anvil over the head. (That just hurts like the dickens!)

These can, and most of the time (with me anyway) do turn out to be some of the greatest things you’ll ever write. Why is that?

Because it already has a life of its own.

The one thing we strive to do as writers is to bring a story to life so vividly that people never question whether the characters are real or not. They are.

If something abushes you, with dialogue and actions just spilling onto the page, you should embrace it! It has taken on a life of its own and flown off on its own. All you have to do is watch and record.

Honestly, sometimes it’s easier if a project ambushes you, because that’s less work to do for the first draft, but don’t get me wrong! Just because the first draft ambushes you and flops itself onto the page, don’t think you won’t have to edit.

If anything, you’ll end up editing more and being even more cautious, because you care about it more. Because it’s GOOD. There’s no shame in letting a project jump onto a page in a matter of 30 to 60 days. Heaven knows I’ve done it a number of times! Just make sure, in the end, you give it the attention and loving correction it needs to turn it into a masterpiece. A true bestseller.

Because being ambushed isn’t bad when you’re a writer.

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When was the last time an entire storyline or dialogue or book just came to you? Has that ever happened?

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Did you like what you read today? Do you have questions, comments, or cat-killing curiosity about something? If so, please either comment on this post or visit the Contact page and drop me a note!

It was good to have you as a visitor today! Please drop by again, or become family by following the Write Knowledge. Thank You.

BONUS POST: Sebastian’s Gift

Merry Christmas everyone! Yes, I know it’s only Christmas Eve, but I felt I should offer a nice little Christmas gift from me to all of you. So I chose this little flash fiction to get us all in the holiday mood. I hope you enjoy!

 

Sebastian’s Gift by Megan Fatheree

It is true that destiny may not exist and fate is unkind to everyone, but as I sat in my flat that snowy Christmas Eve, I dared to hope that perhaps it would be kind to me.

I knew I wasn’t the most beautiful girl in London, or the kindest or the most promising in my field, but I wished for once that he would notice me.

By “he”, I of course meant Sebastian Edwards. Most people didn’t like him, and I could see why, sometimes. Sebastian was raised in a home without much love, so he was hardpressed to show affection to anyone. His circle of friends was very small, but thankfully included myself. He spoke his mind rudely on occasion, but all the same he had the kindest heart of anyone I had ever met. There was really only one problem. Sebastian never seemed to notice me.

I’m sure that to him I was just a pest. Someone who came in between him and his hobbies. I’m sure I always showed up at the most inopportune times, and his breeding wouldn’t allow him to throw me out. If he wasn’t such a gentlemen, I’m almost sure he would have.

That Christmas Eve, I dared to try to make an impression on his wandering mind. I had bought him a gift, carefully thought out and bought with money that I had saved for months. It was exactly the kind of thing he had insisted he needed not long ago. A gift that, I was sure, would please even the most cynical of men. That gift, in question, sat on the table in front of me, wrapped meticulously and awaiting a bow.

I tied the ribbon in a foolish way, the first time, and had to untie it and try again. It took me several tries to straighten it just the way I wanted. Then, carefully, I placed it in the bag containing presents for the others who would be attending Sebastian’s small gathering. His small circle of friends.

They were my small circle, as well. I don’t think Sebastian understood that I had as much difficulty making friends as he did. I had a good personality, everyone always told me so, but I had a tendency to hide it behind timidity and silence until I really got to know someone. Most people mistook it for coolness or aloofness and didn’t bother to try to make my acquaintance. Sebastian had stayed around long enough to find the heart of gold underneath. The heart of gold that I was sure he cared nothing for.

I sighed and, checking my appearance in the mirror before I left and adding some red lipstick, I set out for Sebastian’s flat, absolutely certain that nothing would make him see me. Though, looking back, perhaps fate had different designs in store.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Making Emotions Real

“Sometimes, the saddest parts aren’t where the character is crying. Sometimes, the saddest parts come from when they’re trying not to cry.”

This quote has changed the way I write.

I realized, after reading it fifteen times and pondering on it for a long while, that whoever came up with this is absolutely correct.

I mean, come on! Have you ever been reading a book, going along and enjoying it, and then you realize there’s this one character who is constantly bawling? (Guilty as charged, I have so yelled at a character for crying too much before.)

If you take a minute to look at real people, you’ll find that (more often than not) they don’t want other people to see them cry. And, therefore, they hold back the tears and set up their “I’m okay” facade. Just watch people around you every once in a while.

We’ve talked about how people have “tells” before. Well, people have what I call “emotion tells”. Like a tick that could be a quivering chin if they let it. Some people’s noses turn red when they’re trying not to cry. (I know a few.)

People are emotional by nature, but many also have a pride issue. For some reason, society has told us that crying make you look weak, and therefore most people don’t want to give in to their natural emotions. Because they think it will make them look weak.

Recently, I was writing a story where a character blames herself for stuff that keeps happening to both her and other people. Because of issues in her past, she also has abandonment issues.

Sounds like it could go really mushy really fast, with lots of tears and “don’t goes”, right?

Wrong.

I’m telling you, I actually cried writing her most recent scene. A scene in which someone she loves says they’re leaving. How did she handle it? Not with begging.

She stoicly, listlessly stood there and listened to him tell her he was leaving. She even let him yell at her. All the while, she watched the floor and distracted herself so she didn’t cry. Because she wanted to. Badly. He left, she shut herself in her room. Then, and only then, did she allow herself to let go and let it all out.

And you know what? Because she had been holding it in, and the tension had been building around it, it made the entire scene that much more powerful. That much more moving. Enough to move a reader (and writer) to tears over this character.

Do you want to hear a reader say, “Oh my gosh, I loved your book so much! It made me cry!”? Then maybe you should consider employing the method of hold it in until it has to get out.

If people are all fundamentally similar, doesn’t that mean your characters wouldn’t want to gush all over other characters? If your characters are real, why would they spill their guts with no reasonable motivation to do so?

Ponder that this week.

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I wanna hear about the first book that EVER made you cry. Or why you haven’t ever cried at a book. Ready? Set. GO!

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Did you like what you read today? Do you have questions, comments, or cat-killing curiosity about something? If so, please either comment on this post or visit the Contact page and drop me a note!

It was good to have you as a visitor today! Please drop by again, or become family by following the Write Knowledge. Thank You.