U stands for Understanding

Understanding comes in many shapes and sizes, not all of them pleasant and comfortable. It can roll in during an ‘Ah-ha!’ moment while you’re struggling through that last bit of schoolwork, or sneak past you when you’re asleep and dreaming.

Most of my understanding moments come when I’m in that 3/4’s asleep, 1/4 awake moment, lying in bed listening to the fan whirr overhead. That’s when the walls around my heart drop and everything turns crystalline. All the things I struggle with during my waking hours are brought to the surface and the answers are laid before me in neat little rows. It’s a magical ‘between’ time.

Those same moments of clarity can come when you’re writing. But you have to be open to the possibility that truly understanding your characters might very well lead the story in directions you don’t have planned out. That understanding them might just unravel your neatly lined up plot points and send your novel careening off into the wilds of your imagination; that your precisely ordered world might well come crumbling down, and what is rebuilt is nothing like you’d hoped.

And that’s no bad thing.

 

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “U stands for Understanding

  1. Thanks, Shanti. I needed to hear this tonight. I really need to turn off the box-checker when I’m writing. šŸ™‚

  2. k~

    Boy Shanti, that last paragraph really hits it for me. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times the characters will begin to express their own rules, and I listen… write… listen… and alter accordingly. I find it a fascinating process.

    • I love watching the story emerge from the ashes of what I wanted. Without exception, once I’ve given my characters their freedom, the world they give me is much richer than the one I had planned.

  3. Thanks for an interesting post! I find my understanding moments can sometimes come when I’ve experienced two unrelated things that spark off each other. I have many ‘aha’ moments when out running or doing mundane stuff like the washing up šŸ™‚

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