A Novel Lesson

A comment to the post about imagination and intuition referenced the fact that fiction writers sometimes tap into future events. (Check out this blog post about how Edgar Allan Poe seems to have written about an event before it happened). As a fiction lover who is working steadily to finish my first novel, that thought really fascinated me.

I’ve often heard other writers talk about how they have no control over the plot; rather, they sit down to write and the characters come alive and take over the story. My logical mind thought that was a bunch of “caca.” I figured these writers were just trying to sound artsy. But I was wrong because my story does seem to be taking on a life of its own. In fact, a character that I intended to be a minor player came onto the canvas and I liked him so much that I made an entire plot adjustment to give him more action.

I don’t know whether I’m tapping into some future occurrence. (Wouldn’t it be great to create the characters we want to enter our lives and erase the ones we’d like to leave behind?) But the one thing this process is helping me to do is leave my logical mind at the door. When I started writing this book, I had this long outline that detailed what would happen in each scene. As I filled in the blanks, fleshing out my little blueprint, I started to become bored, and frankly, the book started to feel like a chore. And then one day I had an idea that differed from my outline and I went with it. Since then, I’ve veered so far off course from that outline that I have no idea where the book is heading – but the process has become a lot more interesting and alive.

Intuition works the same way. If we have to control everything, we don’t have the flexibility to adapt to a flash of inspiration. And if we’ve already planned out our every step, what’s the point of having intuition to guide us along in the first place?

Intuitive Action Item: Think of something you’ve created ‘a plan’ for. This might be a tough one, but scrap your plan. Just wing it instead and see what happens. It might turn out better than you thought.

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1 Comment

  • Anonymous

    I struggle with that all the time. I’ll make all these plans, then say I’m going to go with the flow because that’s what I want to do. And then I’ll get nervous about going with the flow and I’ll feel like I need a plan so I’ll make another plan and so on and so on. Endless loop.

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