Write-a-thon Update…and Runaway Characters

Whew! Half-way through the final week of CW Write-a-thon! In case you’re wondering, yes, I did finish last week’s story, and on Saturday, so I’m still on time and on-target for the goal of a story a week after the novelette draft was complete.

Now I’m some 1500-words into this week’s story. Why so few words? Well, for this story, I’ve decided to go into another world, one that I know nothing about. So, the first two days were just background research and world-building. Those typed notes and pages don’t add into the story’s word count…but I count them as a day of ‘writing’ nonetheless.

Last week’s story surprised me. I thought I knew just where it was going, and then ‘Bam!’ — it took off in a completely different direction for the ending. It was an ending I hadn’t thought of, hadn’t anticipated…but even so, I’m very pleased with it. I don’t think I could have planned it, actually. I had to be in this character’s head, thinking her thoughts, to see the possibility. Once I did that, I was sure it was the only way to end.

I haven’t had a character run away with me for awhile, and it was…odd, but fun. I’m curious to know if any other writers experience this (I know some of you do), and if so, how often? Did it happen more often when you were a beginning writer, or does it still happen at about the same regularity over your career (to this point. I’m not retiring you, by any means!)? Or do you just think it means you haven’t understood your character well enough before beginning to write?

Finally, in news-of-the-odd (and the dreaded superstition mode again), today’s unusual occurrence with wildlife: I took a walk in late morning sunshine. At the river, I went down to see the water instead of just crossing at the bridge above. There’s a small erosion-control sluice where many people fish and kids play, but today it was empty, so I went there. A raccoon stood in the shallows, washing…something. It raised its head as I went by and watched me closely, walking toward me until I was far enough away.

Obviously, it’s sick with distemper or rabies, being out in daytime and aggressive. I want to avoid it, especially seeing as how I’m in sandals and shorts. But now I was on a peninsula of concrete sticking out into the narrowed flow of the river. No way to go but back. So I waited until it was away from the concrete again, looking the other way and then I raced back by it, not looking its way. Still, it charged at me, and after me! I got away unhurt, just alarmed and adrenalin-charged, and warned the trail monitors of it’s behavior and location. So now I’m wondering:  Considering what the other cool things foretold, what could this possibly presage?

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About M.E. Garber

I'm an itinerant Ohio-born speculative fiction writer now living in north central Florida.
This entry was posted in Nature, Write-a-Thon, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Write-a-thon Update…and Runaway Characters

  1. I’m going with “cute peaceful wildlife means rejections; aggressive jerk wildlife means acceptances.” 😉
    Characters don’t often get away from me in short stories. In novels, more often. The most recent wasn’t a character intentionally getting away–I think he would have been happy to cross the bridge like I’d planned. But for some reason, when he was halfway across… I pushed him off. 😀

    Like

    • M.E. Garber says:

      So, it was more “author running amok” than “runaway character?” Maybe I’ll try that next time; it sounds fun.

      And if it means acceptances, I’ll run by rabid raccoons every day!

      Like

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