I’m going to share a little secret with you guys. I know, I know; this might come as a shock to some of you. Prepare your pearls for clutching. Ready your forehead for smashing your keyboard. Just hear me out.
Fiction is a lawless realm, and you are the Fairy God-Author.
Ahem. Allow me to elaborate.
This might come as a shock to you because I know so many writers who insist that there are rules. That there is a logic that has to be followed when writing. That you can’t just make mumbo-jumbo up and expect it to fly. Writing, they say, doesn’t work like that. There needs to be a method to the madness.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you are a freakin’ Fairy God-Author, that you have a wand, and that you can wave it whichever way you please.
As a writer, you have the right to wave that wand.
So many people approach creative writing like it’s some wild beast that they have to contain. On the one hand, I can understand that. The creative process finds its genesis in discombobulated emotions, flashes of imagery, and unstructured ideas. We want to control these impulses, to put them into an entity that can be deciphered and, after much editing, enjoyed.
The result, however, is not necessarily bad writing — but rigid writing. You’ll eventually get to a point where a character is in a pickle or a conflict remains unresolved, and you’ll find yourself grasping for a logical resolution.
Here’s where it’s ok for you to take a step back, elaborately unsheathe your wand, and teleport into that scenario guns blazing. Don’t cage the creative beast; observe it in its natural habitat.
2. Don’t be afraid to shake things up.
This is going to be the hardest bit to swallow. I know it was for me.
It’s ok if nothing makes sense at first.
I think that the biggest moment of clarity for me was when I sat down to write the climactic scene of my novel, and realized that I could literally do anything I wanted. This might seem conspicuous, but please understand: I had been deliberating over this particular scene for months. I had been building it up in my head for so long that when it came down to writing it, I was stuck. I couldn’t think of one plausible way for my main character to get out of this situation alive, and I certainly couldn’t just kill him off.
That’s when I gave myself a friendly slap on the wrist and said, “Darn it, I’m in charge!” and wrote something so ridiculous and out-of-the-blue that it kind of actually worked. After that, I progressed through the falling action feeling unstoppable.
Many great writers of the past were so great because they threw caution to the wind and wrote unapologetically. A prime example is Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a winding and nonsensical rollercoaster ride, but it lives on as one of the most enchanting and prolific children’s stories to date.
Sometimes the most creative writing is the weirdest. And the weirdest writing is almost always the most memorable.
3. Consider the consequences.
Let’s not kid ourselves here. If Special Agent Dangerface decides that the best way to eradicate an evil-doer is to burn down the entire city, then he’s going to have to face some undesirable consequences. Same goes if Jenny Goody-Two-Shoes wins the school talent show by riding in on a pterodactyl. I’m sure scientists will have a few pressing questions for her.
With great, Fairy God-Author power comes great responsibility. Some choices might come to back to bite you. There might be plot holes, jarring changes in tone, developments that don’t contextually make sense.
If you go trigger-happy, the spell will eventually break. This is inevitable.
…but it’s not the end-all, be-all of your story.
4. Work the crazy while you can.
Because that’s why we have second drafts: to tone down the preposterous, smooth over the mood-breaking, and fill in the plot holes.
What I’m trying to say is— have no reservations. Be unapologetic. Work that wand.
If you’re in a jam and want to make up some ridiculous scenario to get out of it, go for it. If you’re running dry on inspiration and are willing to do anything to move on to the next part of your story, go for it. If you want to write absurdly, go for it. If you want to write orderly, go for it.
You just might surprise yourself with what you come up with.
Some people might say that this is lazy writing. I don’t believe in lazy writing. If anything, lazy writing is when you don’t write at all.
Good luck, and happy writing! 🙂
© 2016 Stellular Scribe