Posts Tagged ‘writing technique’

What Are The Odds – Coincidence In Life And Fiction

February 11, 2019

This past weekend I was confronted with the reality of coincidence. Both events were of limited scope, but both made me ask myself what the odds are of getting a break when I thought it was a setback.

The first was buying flowers for a friend. I picked up some lovely blooms, and called to see if I could bring them over. Turns out she was out of town, but as it happened I was having a meeting at my house so I could use them as part of the decorations. Then I went to put them in a vase and discovered I had bought almost too much even for my largest vase, and the resulting display weighed a ton. Given that I have no idea what sort of vases my friend has, but I do know she’s been having back issues lately, this was definitely a case of the universe saving my hinder.

The second event was of similar magnitude in terms of the greater scheme of life. I had brought a donation quilt to the guild meeting. I planned to show it during Sharing before turning it in to Community Quilts. A friend asked if she could examine it, and as I took it out I noticed I didn’t put the Amador Valley Quilters label on the back. We always label our donation quilts, and in fact I HAVE some of those labels at home. I simply forgot to sew it on. Luckily, Community Quilts had extra labels and a hand sewing kit, so I stitched it on before Sharing started and was able to turn the quilt in as planned.

There are times in my writing when I wonder if the coincidence I absolutely, positively must have for the plot to work is all that credible. The last weekend gave me my answer – sometimes, the universe does provide.

Luck and wisdom!

Misdiagnosing Your Writing

July 30, 2018

Is it time to fix your words?

It isn’t often that a misdiagnosis helps my writing. A few years ago, a new doctor decided that the colleague who diagnosed the rash on my palm was mistaken. “The good news is, what he prescribed didn’t do you any harm,” she said. The better news is, I decided I could make that work for me.

Stay with me here. Diagnosis is hard, and diagnosing skin issues is one of the hardest. It’s the same with writing. You know something is wrong is with the story, but what? Is there a hole in the plot? Are the characters not playing together nicely? Is the subtext fighting with everything else?

Now comes the real hard part. You ask people you trust for help, but what if they misjudge the problem? What if you’re advised to rejigger the plot, but that doesn’t solve anything? Back to square one with different advisers?

I can’t tell you what the solution is for your problem piece. I usually let the words rest long enough that my inner critic shuts up and the inner genius can get busy (I’ve had one piece resting for six years now, so this isn’t exactly a quick fix). In the meantime, nothing I did has done any harm. Tweaking the plot, changing the characters, revisiting the subtext – that’s all important work which will help me be a better writer for the next project.

So, thank your advisers, beta readers, and critique partners for all their misdiagnoses. In the end, it’s worth it.