In Which I Ponder Whether to Take a Writing Risk

I’m approaching the end of the 2nd draft of Places Bright and Dark. There’s a choice I’m going to have to make.


Thanks to Digital Import (Chris)

While I can only speak for myself for sure, other writers must encounter this as well. I’m writing along, full steam. Muse is is jumping around, spewing good ideas. I’m in the zone! That zone we writers love, when there is no such thing as writer’s block, when all is right with the world, and if it ain’t–hey, screw it–I’m in the zone. I’m writing agreat scene–Action! Challenges! Conflict! And I have to get the character out of the situation alive. I type the first thing that comes to mind because it’s good. But unrealistic. I mean, I’ve heard of this kind of thing happening when people have been in impossible situations and death is imminent unless the Divine intervenes.

So the Devine intervenes. “I’ll change it when I revise,” I think, and carry on, laughing, hand in hand with my muse.

The time to revise is approaching. I like the divine intervention in the story. It fits. It’s like a reward for the character’s faith struggle, because, otherwise, it’s not rewarded. At least not yet or in the way she wants.

But many readers will say it’s not believable. It’s too easy. It’s deus ex machina.

There might be other ways, regular ways. It’s said in writing first ideas are often not the best ideas.

But I think sometimes the first ideas are the best ones. Sometimes. Often, first ideas are cliche, maybe based on a recently experienced movie or book. But other times they flow from the spirit of the story, from the theme, from what the story is really about. And to mess with that is to diminish it, to make it smaller than what it’s meant to be.

Maybe the whole scene is over-the-top. But we’re dealing with larger than life characters in a world that exists, but most people are not involved with–the super rich when they party. And the supernatural solution can be used in the future as reassurance because it’s going to be needed.

Maybe I need to rewrite the scene to include a realistic solution and run them both by readers.

I’ve written before that writing involves choices. The audience has to be considered in the choice, but the truth of the story must also be adhered to. To go with the divine intervention line is risky. Actually, that entire section of the story is. But what’s the point of writing just another safe romance? It’s not what the book or the Lilyland series is about.

I used to wonder what was meant when a writer or movie director took risks. Now I know.

4 thoughts on “In Which I Ponder Whether to Take a Writing Risk

  1. Hi Theresa, Not knowing the ‘intervention’, is there a way to twist it around. i.e. The bad guy being chased down the street happens to have a safe fall on his head. Morphed into… The bad guy being chased literally runs into some gang members who toss him around, then throw him in front of the bus, but you’re smart enough to not try to stop them. If you leave ‘God’ in the mix, then maybe add in a consequence. If hit by the bus, the bad guy takes the secret with him, making the good guys work all the harder, maybe losing one or two victims before they put together that the case didn’t get closed by the bus.

  2. I did think of some alternatives–which I couldn’t before–when I rewrote the scene, which I can maybe use if my beta readers don’t think it works. But there are ways this particular intervention influences the future.

I would love to know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.