Thanks to all who entered my 50 Followers GIVEAWAY, and to all the new people who dropped by afterward. Upon a drawing courtesy of Random.org, the winner of a first chapter critique is:
Congratulations! Lynda can send her chapter to me at artzicarol [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will be delighted to critique it for her. It looks suspicious that the randomizer picked a cyberbuddy of mine from a blog I regularly haunt, but hey, that's what really happened! More chances to win when I reach 100 followers, everyone.
By the way, Nicole at Where Fantasy and Love Take Flight is offering a Critiques for Christmas giveaway. Your choice of query, synopsis, or one-page critiques if you win. Click to visit and enter; this contest is open until December 17.
YOUR BOOK: THE MOVIE
Surprises Around the Corner
I usually compose at my keyboard; it's something I've taught myself to do, as it's much easier and faster than writing something in longhand. While I'm in this writing mode, I watch the scene unfold as I go, and I'm exploring it as though I'm walking on a path through a garden (or something like that). I do outline and so I know generally where the path is leading me, but often little surprises pop up. The story and characters take on lives of their own. Such as with my WIP, entitled SAFE ZONE, in which I was writing a dialogue scene, and my secondary characters did this:
Peyton gave Leonard a playful shove on the shoulder. "You read too much."
"You drink too much," Leonard said, shoving her back.
Nah, I thought. I don't want to deal with the subject of drinking. Especially since the novel is post-apocalyptic and I'd have to try to figure out how in the world they'd get alcohol--or how they'd make it. I deleted those lines. Tried to write on. The lines came back. I deleted them again. They persisted. I finally gave up and let it flow, and after a while the whole alcohol issue became an integral part of my plot, fitting in nicely with my MC's dilemma. Nice surprise! I had to let the characters do what they wanted. Sometimes characters are just ornery like that.
Voices and Inner Movies
Along with dealing with ornery characters, many writers are afflicted by a strange malady. They hear voices, and see their characters acting out things in their heads.
This occurs to me sometimes. I hear a simple voice in my head saying a certain line, explaining something, having an argument, or being snarky--and at other time I see the scenes happening in my mental moviemaker. Annoyingly, it's usually as I'm driving down the highway or trying to get to sleep at night. This is true particularly for active, crucial, or highly emotional scenes like at the climax of the story, or the point of a Big Reveal. I try to jot down notes about what I've "seen," and when I write that scene, I describe what went on in the "movie" I've watched. Sort of like taking dictation, or transcribing a real movie.
Now, what if your novel became popular enough to be made into a movie, like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief ? I'm sure it would play out somewhat different from our inner movies and the way we've written it on the page, but that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. I know many writers have even cast their hypothetical movies (everyone has to dream, right?) with actors and actresses, such as Angelina Jolie as a sophisticated but sultry businesswoman, or Zac Efron as a troubled, chick-magnet teenager.
Movie rights are part of an author's contract with a publisher, after all. Not usually utilized, but there just in case. These are one of the many things an agent will negotiate for a writer.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Have your characters ever insisted on doing something that surprised you? Did you let them?
When you write, do you see scenes play out as though they are happening in a movie?
Have you ever imagined your novel as a real movie? Have you mentally cast the characters with live movie actors and actresses?