Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Left Field is the Best Field

It's one of those rare days in Scotland where the weather is not totally unpleasant. As I've been in transit to places today, when not busy talking to friends or geeking out over the fact that Ian Rankin has a twitter, I've been giving thought to conflicts in stories, partially because of real life and partially because I feel like I have basically just been piling things randomly onto my protagonist in my current story.

In fact, that's something which has been driving me crazy for a while. I know what the main conflict is, I've been sowing the seeds, but you can't just hop right to it in the first few pages. So to compensate, I've been throwing up different troubles. None of them really random, per se, and all of them are still connected to the nature of the universe. Most are even tied to the main conflict (there is one subplot in there), but I still can't escape the feeling that they're random because, well, they are. I'll be sitting typing and just decide "Let's have X suddenly happen".

Today, however, has given me a new perspective on this issue, and although I can't say I still approve of my "let's have X suddenly happen" strategy, I am much more accepting of it.

I'll avoid specifics because you neither need nor deserve to hear me whinge about my life, but this trip has had one big undercurrent of conflict, and all of it has come out of left field. Today's came especially out of left field. And if you think about it, that's the way it always seems to work. Not to say that some issues in life don't grow naturally, but it's not hard to imagine someone at a typewriter saying "let's have X suddenly happen" and lo it does.

So thanks, world, for helping me feel better about my writing strategies. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a train to catch.

1 comment:

  1. I feel my conflicts are random in longer works as well and admire those books where all these seemingly left field events happen but by the end of the book it all ties together and bam a big finish. I hope you have a good day