Risk Taking


Dragonfly kite outside my office window

Dragonfly kite outside my office window

I’ll be starting a new book in the next week.  That’s always a very scary time for me.  Well, one of several such times in the process of birthing a book.  Generally, I’m pretty much risk-averse in my personal life.  Or if I take a plunge I’ve pretty much tried to limit the bad places I might fall or the awkward situations I might find myself in.

 With a book start I can try to limit my writing risks by doing research as necessary, character analysis and backstory, figuring out conflict, goals, motivation etc.  However, sometimes characters have a way of changing my plans once I get into the first few chapters. 

This can be risky.  Their insistence could change the whole focus of the book.  That’s scary especially if the writer, in this case—me, is a bit of a control freak.  I’ll worry about that new direction as I haven’t thought it through.  What if it’s really a writing demon’s trap to have me write thousands of words only to have to delete them all because my first idea was the best idea.  Or at least a better one.  Or if I change directions, how will the details I’ve already thought about and written in earlier chapters still apply?  And?  And?  And? 

 The list could be endless.   And use up weeks.  Or more.

 So for the next few days I’ll battle my urges to not start but just keep pulling together my needed information, set my stage, and then plunge in.  I’ll see where my characters’ currents take me and trust them, mostly.  🙂 I guess in writer terminology that makes me a hybrid—both plotter and pantser.  

Should I or not?

Should I or not?

I have to stuff down my fears of taking a risk if I’ve done my preparation well.  Because if I have done my planning well, how could my characters derail their story?  And if they are insistent about change?  

Well, like my best of friends, I better listen and take heed.  After all, it might be a greater risk not to.

What’s your take on this?

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2 Comments on “Risk Taking”

  1. Edie Says:

    I learn so much about my characters as I write the book. I once gutted the middle of a book, which of course made big changes in the last quarter. I’m fearless that way and feel stifled if I plot too much. But others feel lost with no plot.

    It’s great that we’re not all alike. That would be boring.

  2. caseyclifford Says:

    I’m with you, Edie. I have a timeline, some background on my characters etc and think a lot about names etc. I also do research, for example this next book has the heroine dealing with a husband who’s a compulsive gambler. I wasn’t planning on that last originally but Cassie insisted as I thought about her and what her journey would be. It created all sorts of interesting conflicts and nuances to her and in her life.

    However, I sure had to do some reading about complsive gambling. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by.


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