Sunday, April 15, 2012
A Sense of Direction
If you hide an accordion deep in the heart of New Jersey, hubby will find it. He does have good map skills, but while he has lived in New Jersey for more than forty years, he cannot find his way around without a map or me. I am hubby's GPS. He knows his way around Brooklyn, where he grew up, but he doesn't know north from south, east from west in New Jersey. He has no sense of direction.
He fears getting lost, which is incomprehensible to me. How can anyone get lost in New Jersey? There are Parkway signs and Turnpike signs all over the state. With all the jughandles, everyone makes a wrong turn now and then, but there will be another jughandle down the road where you can swing around and correct your course.
Besides, sometimes getting a little lost is fun. I call it exploring. New Jersey has some lovely scenery and unless you take a detour now and then, you will miss it.
When I write a book, it's like taking a long detour and doing some serious exploring. My outline is my map, but sometimes I loop around an unfamiliar jughandle and discover a scene of great beauty. If I was afraid of getting lost, I would never find that scene.
I know how to get home. I know how to find that happy ever after ending, but much of the fun in writing for me is in exploring. I travel deep into my characters' hearts, discover their motivations and learn what they really want. It's an incredible journey, but very entertaining.
My advice to all my writing friends is to write fearlessly. Do not be afraid of getting lost. Develop a sense of direction by studying the landmarks in your story. Tour new vistas and analyze the details.
And have fun. That's what writing is all about.