Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Twilight Zone

A few days ago I'd been to Wichita Falls and was now on my way home, a twenty minute drive. I pulled onto the freeway from the exit ramp and entered the Twilight Zone. It was so weird. Of course I entered on the right hand lane. And as far ahead of me as I could see were motorcycles. As far behind me as I could see were motorcycles. A parade of them. They were traveling in one lane at a steady pace, not too fast, not too slow.

 Now to take my turn off of I-44 to 287, I needed to be in one of the two left lanes. So, I looked back to see if there was an opening. After all, I couldn't run down a motorcylist. That's when it got really bizarre.

No other cars were visible in any lane, in either direction. Nothing but guys and gals on motorcycles. I was spooked. The music theme from the old TV show Twilight Zone, echoed in my ears. I was the lone car. I wanted to go home.

Close to panic, I zipped between two motorcycles.  The guys probably were yelling "You silly old lady. What are you doing?" (Maybe not in exactly those words, but something similar.)

I took the 287 exit and soon was safely home.

My writing is a lot like this experience, which I laughed about later and tried to find out what they were doing. Anyway, when I start a new story, I have a good idea of where I'm going. Not all the details, necessarily, but a road map of sorts guiding me in the right direction to my end destination.

Like the parade of motorcycles, however, surprises sometimes await me and I have to adjust my thinking and my actions. Characters are notorious at popping up and telling me to do this or that. They delight in changing my direction. They often have other plans and want to do things their way. So I go along with them, even though I may question their reasons and ask them why they're interferring with my plans.

It turns out, most of the time my characters are right.

How about you? Do your stories ever go in totally opposite directions than you originally thought?


  1. EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA totally took a side turn. One of the minor character's, Abish, wanted to have a romance with Teancum(who wouldn't? He was hot!) but it took away from Lupe's story. I ended up killing her off. If anything it helped Lupe's story move better.

    CROSSED OUT originial had Stephanie bitter about God and religion. A total oxymoron considering what her job was--helping the dead go to the other side. I ended up taking religion out.

    Sometimes your story can surprise you and take you off on different paths. The question is does it help or hinder the storyline?

  2. Yep, sometimes we need to kill our characters off. May they rest in peace. :)

    We take out, we put in. I guess that's writing. You're right, Kim. Sometimes I need to get back to the original.

  3. @ Kim - Wow! Harsh treatment just for falling in love. LOL

    My stories always go their own way. I've tried on numerous occasions to regain control, but to no avail. They are belligerent when they don't get their own way. Characters behaving badly. ;)

  4. We love those characters anyway, JennaKay. :)

  5. I always have a plan and seldom deviate though often the ending scenes do take a side turn because they tell me the book wasn't a single title but part of a trilogy or more

  6. Sometimes I wish my plans stayed on a straighter path. It's neat when that happens isn't it JL? I've never done a sequel but started on one recently because everyone kept saying I should. We'll see how it turns out.