Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Monday, August 17, 2009

Whose Line is it Anway?

Friday's post got me thinking a little about how odd it was that I really just couldn't change the way the story went. After all, it's my story isn't it? Then it clicked. This isn't my story at all! It's his story.

I have to explain this and hopefully I won't sound crazy. I probably will, but here's hoping anyway. I have absolutely no control over this story. Zip; Zilch; Nada; None. In truth this story is controlling me. It pours through my mind like some ghost river and it is relentless until the words are typed out, or written down somewhere, anywhere. I just have to get it out.

It's really difficult to describe, but more than once during the writing of this series I found myself writing for hours on end and having no idea what I've written until I went back (after some much-needed sleep) later to read it over.

I really feel like I am not really the creator of this tale. This tale already existed out there somewhere and I guess I was the only brain tuned into that station. I was the lightening rod. I am nothing more than a conduit for this story. I sit at the computer finding that sentences, intrigues, plots and sub-plots, are being formed on the screen in front of me.

Certainly it was my fingers that typed out the story, but was it my brain that thought it up? I'd love to take all the credit and say yes, but I'm not sure I can. This story is bigger than I am. It's almost as if my character's ghost is standing at my shoulder, letting me know how things happened.

This story isn't mine. It's his. I just hope I can do it justice.

Perhaps I do need that straight jacket.


K said...

I understand that this is why film and TV sets dread the presence of the writer.

It's your baby, you should, clearly, be the one who decides what happens to it. Especially if it is one of those stories which one day pops into your head like a gift from above.

Sadly, I don't think that is always the case.

When was the last time you saw a film with the screenwriter's name before the director's?

Or chose to see a film based on who wrote the original screenplay?

It does happen, of course. It doesn't matter who writes and directs the latest Harry Potter film, people will go to see it because they like the books. Or liked the previous films which are based on the original books, so either way, it's Rowling's work we see. Kinda.

Is she desperately passionate that what hits the screen is 90% what she originally thought of? Or is she one of those writers who had to write the thing to simply get it out of their head?

Been there. If I don't write something, it'll block anything else I attempt until I do so. Kinda an inverse writer's block.

But even very major, commercially successful authors sometimes have to follow something which means their work isn't quite what they had hoped for.

If you had the choice of changing an ending from happy to sad, or not get published, would you have the artistic integrity to stand by your work? I hope you do. I surely don't.

S. M. Carrière said...

I would also hope I had the integrity!