Recently I discovered that writing a novel is like raising my children. There came a point in time when I had to allow my children enough independence to be the people they were meant to be. My novel is at that point. Despite all of the planning and outlining I have done; despite all of the characters I have carefully developed; and despite the beautiful complex settings I have imagined, my novel has decided to take its own course.
No matter how hard I try not to hover like an anxious parent with a scrawny child, I find that I am still devoted to my original plan. I try not to fight my muse. But when I want my character to walk up the hill and he is determined to walk down it instead, I still fight at first. But little by little I am learning to give in. Page by page I am learning to let go.
I know that letting go is essential. I know that when the first draft is completed I will have to start the rewriting process. I know that there will be sections that I consider beautiful prose that will end up in the scrap pile. I know that when the characters get done telling me who they are and what they are going to do, that there will be earlier sections that no longer fit. It isn’t always easy. But just like raising children, one must eventually let go.
So for now, I am trying to “get out of the way” and let my novel be the story it was meant to be.
J. T., I think I achieved the goal, exactly 270 words in the body of the post.
The three words this week are: anxious devoted and scrawny.