So, while I’ve lived in
So, while at best I can claim myself to be a fifth-generation American, at least my two, flatlander children were both born and raised in
When I went to hear
When asked if she thought it wise to discuss her story/novel-in-progress with others, Julia advised against this for the very simple reason that a story should be told from “the inside-out”—to talk about the plot too much before it hits the page risks having it “crystallize” before its time and force the writer to tell it from “the outside-in.” There’s a lot of truth to that notion since the writing process, itself, is at its imaginative peak when it’s kept fresh and open to new discoveries along the way. Sure, it helps if a writer has a general sense of where the story ought to go, but the writer should also be open to listening to his/her characters and letting them wield some control over their own fate.
Most writers are fascinated to learn how other writers navigate the writing process. Stories—especially novel-sized ones—often take on a life of their own, so-to-speak. Characters of our own creation often rebel against the path we’ve laid out for them and demand to take the plot in new and unsuspecting directions. This is what makes storytelling so compelling for so many writers. Personally, I’m a writer who likes to write a novel from a well-developed chapter outline; short stories, not so much, but the complexity of a novel does usually require some degree of foresight as to how all the story elements will be woven together—crafted, as they say. Yet, even if you are a writer who, when it comes to deciding your characters’ fate, feels most at home in the role of omniscience, it’s often wise to remember that even God provided us with a window of unpredictability, a.k.a. free will.