Hope that your story doesn’t come out the way that you had planned!

Lillian Hellman once said, Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped.”

As a writer, that has happened to me over and over.  At first, in the early days of writing, I was appalled that the story was going somewhere that I had not planned for.   The characters would lead me down paths that I had no intention of going down or writing about.  Now I accept this strange phenomenon that happens not just to me but to other writers as well.

I’ve been dying to tell you this story.  But I had to wait until a segment of my novel was posted so that I would not spoil the shocking surprise in Part 42 . (Dec.21st)

women's fiction, prison, love, family, writing,     A glaring, or perhaps glorious, example of a story taking an unexpected turn was when I was writing “Women Outside the Walls”.  My plan for the story line was that this would be a cozy little story of three very different women coming together while visiting their men in prison.

A third of the way through this project, Charlie, while sitting in the visiting room of the prison, jumps up, grabs Kitty and holding a shiv (knife) to her throat,  takes her hostage.  I  sat at my keyboard and literally wailed aloud, “No!  No you can’t!  I don’t know anything about hostages……or hostage negotiations!” Too late! He’d already dragged Kitty to the back wall and pandemonium had broken out.  The prison went on emergency lock down and there was nothing I could do! There I sat at my keyboard, dead in my tracks.

It took me four months of research on hostage negotiations before I could resume working on my novel.  I had not the faintest clue as to how I would finally resolve this room being taken hostage.  And I want to stop here and thank the federal and state hostage negotiators who assisted me in my research. While they would not share any of their techniques, they agreed to look over my story and tell me where I was off base.They allowed me to send them this segment of my novel for them to critique and assisted in keeping my portrayal accurate.   Before you CO’s jump all over me about the gun, I did take dramatic license with that.

I have learned to anticipate and enjoy it when the story takes on a life of its own.  It’s my fondest wish to become the ‘typist’.  When my characters take control and tell me the story!

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