Posts Tagged ‘ramblings’

It’s all about perception

April 30, 2013

So I saw this delightful article about a photographer who takes creative pictures of the moon, and was reminded that so much in our experience of life, the world, or even a story is all about our perception of it.

A fairytale I read as a child illustrates the point: Once upon a time there was a spoiled princess (at least, that’s how I remember her). The one thing she wanted most in all the world was the moon. Obviously, no one could give it to her – deeds drawn up by the king’s solicitor didn’t satisfy, nor did any of the creative efforts of the rest of the court. It wasn’t until one insightful courtier actually had the bright idea of asking the princess what *exactly* it was that she wanted that the dilemma was resolved – to her, the moon was a tiny, silver disk, no larger than a penny, floating through the sky. So the courtier gave her a pendant with a tiny moon on it. The princess was delighted. Then the courtier asked what the rest of the world would do, now that there was no moon to light up the night sky. The princess laughed at him. “Silly man,” she said (or something like that), “A new one will grow, just like it always does each month.”

My perceptions of the world may color my stories, but my stories don’t generally reflect how I see the world, just some possible variations. Like the photographer playing with his moon photos, I just like to have fun with ideas, turning them upside-down and inside-out, and often being very surprised with just how the resulting stories turn out.

The best-laid plans…

June 16, 2011

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you plan, how thoroughly you examine your strategy, things just don’t turn out as you expect.

Writing is that way – at least for me. Of course, I don’t generally strategize all that much before I sit down to write. I usually start with a general idea in mind, something like “I think I’ll travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” but I don’t plan out the route in much detail, other than identifying a vague desire to pass through a few major cities along the way. Then I close my eyes, throw a rock and write my way to wherever it landed. When I get there, I pick up the rock, close my eyes, throw it again, and write my way to the next event/destination, even if it was someplace I’d never imagined going.

What does that do for me? It keeps the story from becoming so pre-planned and overly-thought-0ut that I’m not interested in it any more. It gives me a sense of discovering the events along with my characters – hopefully, in much the same way my readers will.

I love this job!