Have you ever experienced writing a story that gives you more than just an interesting tale and a collection of fictional people?
Let me explain.
Last week, in my blog post titled, The Story Which Wants To Show You Other Things, I spoke about how, whilst working on a draft of a story, I had stumbled across a strange hole in a fictional wall. In my story a hole had appeared and in the initial drafts I had completely ignored it.
For the first time in my writing career I decided to let go of being desperate to finish the tale and went over to investigate the hole in the wall.
As an update to last week’s post, after poking my writer head through the hole in the wall, I found:
- 3 brand new characters all sat behind the wall.
- 1 new character who deserves a story of her own, so she’s been taken out and has been pencilled for something else.
- A sparkling new story idea which made me wake up in the early hours and scribble out a quick synopsis.
- Several ideas on how to take my current draft forward.
- A question mark over whether this story should be another genre.
- A weird urge to look for more hidden gems.
I don’t think I have worked on a story which spawns other things.
This story might not go anywhere but its similar to one of those toy Russian Dolls, the ones where you pull them apart to find another and another and another inside.
I believe story ideas come to us for a reason and believe it or not, a lot of the time the reason is not fame and fortune.
In order to explain my theory on story ideas, I want to share this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic.
‘I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us—albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner.’
Story ideas come to teach you things, guide you towards other stories, show you something new, challenge you and sometimes take you to a deeper level.
This story of mine, ‘The Extraordinary Lists of Violet Fontaine,’ is more than just a story. It’s clearly got other things hidden inside it.
So, how do you handle one of these special stories, which keeps on giving?
- Be grateful. I am so grateful for this story idea choosing me to partner up with. I am also feeling blessed it has turned up at a point in my writing career when I am ready to explore. Three years ago I would have been too uptight to let go.
- Stay focused. It could be so easy for me to run off with all these new sparkly ideas and characters, ditching my unfinished draft. So, I am writing them down and putting them aside.
- Stay open-minded. This is hard as I would love to force it into a romance story but I don’t think this is why it has shown up in my life. I need to stay open minded and see where it takes me.
- Stop thinking about the outcome. This has really helped me. I have stopped thinking about what will happen to Violet when she’s finished. The story isn’t finished so will cross that bridge when I come to it.
Have you ever come across a story that has kept on giving?
Keep writing x
Exciting times. On Wednesday this blog will be part of this. Don’t miss my special post.