Friday, May 6, 2011

Trusting My Instinct

This month is Boot Camp for every scout on the Speculative Salon. While most of them have outline to follow, I am winging it with the tips of my fingers. If I haven't mentioned it before, I cannot follow an outline. It is best for me to save the time for research or writing. After five days of writing towards to my ambitious goal of 100k for Boot Camp, I realized trusting my instinct is the path for me.

While writing with no clear goal in sight, I decided to add some old woman in the street. Turns out the woman comes back to hurt my character later on. Was I aware at the time I wrote her in? No. Yet, somehow I felt the need to include the woman anyway. She came back inside my head when it was time for her to reappear. It feels random, but is it really?

It has happened to me before. Random thoughts added to my WIP turns important later on. Now it doesn't always happen, but for about 85% of the time it is true. I started to look back to the times when I wrote an outline. Was it possible my instinct made me write away from my outline because it knew something I didn't yet? I believe it did, otherwise why do these moments of aha keep coming into my WIP.

My conclusion is my instinct is directing me to write the novel I want to write. The only to access my instinct is to free write my novel until the very end. Then my instinct will step aside for the rest of the process. Well, I hope it does.


Tiyana, aka "Yoyo" said...

Interesting. I think our instincts typically give us good material to work with, even if we don't see or understand that material at the beginning. I've been amazed how some details I thought were random at first later on turned out to be the perfect foreshadowing device for future events, or the perfect solution to a problem I'd created later on.

Like you said, that doesn't always happen, but we shouldn't be afraid to let our subconscious guide some of our decisions during the first draft--even if you are using a very detailed outline. (I find that having some general goals for the novel as a whole and on an individual scene level is useful, though, to keep from wandering too much. I used a very loose outline and filled in the details as I went.)

The muse shouldn't take over the novel, but it should also be listened to.

Good luck with the rest of your boot camp (all)!

Rosi said...

I couldn't agree more, Marilyn. I have had the same thing happen -- I write something and have no idea where it comes from, but later on it becomes incredibly important to the story. I also can't write from and outline. My characters pop up in my mind and tell me the story. Sometimes I feel as if I'm simply the typist! LOL.

Shelley Munro said...

Marilyn - Yes! This is exactly the way I write. The minute I try to do an outline or plot - anything structured - I tend to freeze up. Instinct works for me although, to be honest, there are times when I take a wrong direction. I tend to mull over my book all the time when I'm not writing and a solution will come to mind to get me back on track.

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