A Box of Chocolates


That Box of Chocolate

“Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Most of you recognize this quote.  For me it’s the most memorable of several lines I often hear quoted which have come from the movie Forrest Gump.

But yesterday and today as I was getting so close to finishing the first major revision of my current manuscript, this phrase kept racing through my head.  Why?

Because with this revision I realized how much this particular story and the characters in it were like that box of chocolates.  I wrote them once and thought I knew them.  Then with this revision, I learned so much more—often making it necessary for me to rethink elements of my story and add or delete parts I’d already written.  My characters and my story became more than I expected.

Like life can do to us.  Like Forrest’s quote.  Even writers don’t always know what they’re going to get with a story, especially if they are part pantser like I am.  I want to be that way.  Not totally, after all I insist on controlling at least the fictional part of my world.  But I’m also wise enough to give my characters the chance to blossom and grow once I’ve given them the garden to do so.

But that means I’ve got to allow them some freedom.  I’ve found they use this freedom responsibly.  They know their parameters; they understand just how much rope I’ll give them before I rein them in.  They know I’ll put the clamps on them if they get too far out of line—because I’ve thought about them and gotten to know them and set the rules in that first draft.

Writing and revising is a bit like parenting in that respect. 🙂

I’ll have another revision to do before I think this book is ready for others to read.  But this revision most likely won’t see such big surprises.  This revision is like that box of chocolates.  I know what everything looks like know, just like if you study a box of chocolates you know what ones to avoid—or offer to others.  (For me those are anything coconut, nougat or jellied; the writing equivalent would be vampires, werewolves, sci-fi and fantasy.)  As a writer, I leave plots and stories like those to other writers…I  know they would do a far better story than I could—even if I did find a plot like that lurking somewhere in my writing box of chocolates.

It's waiting for me

So in doing this revision, I found lots of truffles, crunches, toffees and creams.  So many more than I expected and such fun to deal with.  I can’t wait to print out the pages and start my next foray into the box of chocolates this story has become.  What’s the best part?

Looking forward to the next story and what kind of chocolate I might find in that box.  That new story is waiting, impatient for me to open it up.  Soon, I promise.

What’s your take on my box of chocolate theory?  For real life or writing life?

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Explore posts in the same categories: Character traits, Writing

4 Comments on “A Box of Chocolates”

  1. Edie Ramer Says:

    I just did a major revision like that, and I so agree. I found out that someone I thought was mostly caramel had some nuts in him. And the hero had a few of his nuts scraped off — but not the most important ones. 😀 The one constant was my heroine, Belle. She’s the heart of the story and she always was.

  2. caseyclifford Says:

    I’m so glad you understood my post. Here’s hoping you will have many more interesting boxes of chocolate in your writing future. 🙂

  3. Nancy Kaye Says:

    I loved the comparison. I think people are like candy – some have hidden treasures iinside that don’t appear at first glance. Also you need a variety of candy and people in your life to keep interesting.

  4. caseyclifford Says:

    Nancy,

    You’re so right. Maybe at club we should talk about what kind of candy we think we are? Yeah, right… 🙂


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