Take a look at these groups of words:
Word Group Choice Number One:
aptitude, faculty, feeling, funny feeling, gift, gut reaction, hang, hunch, idea, impulse, inclination, intuition, knack, know how, nose, predisposition, proclivity, savvy, sense, sentiment, sixth sense, talent, tendency, urge
Word Group Choice Number Two:
ability, accomplishment, acquirement, aptitude, aptness, attainment, attribute, bent, capability, capacity, endowment, faculty, flair, forte, genius, head, instinct, knack, leaning, nose, numen, power, propensity, set, specialty, turn
Word Group Choice Number Three:
adroitness, aptitude, aptness, bent, capability, capacity, cleverness, dexterity, facility, flair, forte, genius, gift, instinct, intelligence, knack, leaning, nose*, peculiarity, penchant, pistol, power, predilection, proclivity, propensity, property, quality, readiness, reason, right stuff, sense, skill, strength, talent, turn, wits
Which one of these three word groups describes you and your writing?
Now look at these definitions:
Choice One: a natural aptitude or gift
Choice Two: a capacity for achievement or success
Choice Three: competence in an activity or occupation because of one's skill, training, or other qualification
Does any one definition describe you as a writer? Now look back at the word groupings above and see if you can pick out which definition goes with which group of words. (Yes, there's a reason for this, don't worry.)
The other night I sat down to work on the wip after the kids went to bed like I always do. I'd thought about the scene I needed to write all day long. I knew the players, how it would start, where it would go and what would happen at the end. Usually, spending my day working through the scene makes it easier for me to write it in the evening because I don't waste a lot of time wondering, well, what should happen next? But this night, something strange happened.
The scene that started coming out of my fingers when I typed was not the scene I'd set out to write all day. It was in a different location, with different characters. In fact, the hero and heroine weren't even in this scene. It was a scene composed entirely of secondary characters, and as I was writing I had no clue what was happening, why or where it would go, but for some reason, the scene spilled out almost as quickly as if I'd spent the entire day pondering it.
Weird, right? I thought so, too.
When I was done, I read back over what I'd written. It wasn't bad, but I couldn't figure out why it was important or why it had to be written now. Instead of frustrating myself over it though, and because it was already so late, I closed the laptop and went to bed.
My brain had turned off by that point. I was exhausted from the day. So I pulled the covers up, snuggled down, closed my eyes and thought of nothing. And not more than twenty minutes later sat up and smacked my head when it all hit me like a mack truck barrelling at 90 mph toward me out of the dark. "Of course!"
Of course, my DH thought something bad had happened, and in his sleep-induced state bolted up with a, "What? What? What's wrong?" I'm sure he was envisioning a fire or screaming kids...or maybe just a scantily clad Heidi Klum from the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - who knows how a guy's brain works. But at that moment, I didn't care. All I cared about was the AHA! moment I'd just had.
I'll admit, this isn't the first time this has happened to me - where I feel compelled to write a scene that doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything in my book and then later find out it's oh-so important. Almost like my subconscious knows where the story's going before my brain has time to catch up. I like to think it's some natural writers instinct coming out, leading me to the place I would have eventually gotten to on my own, but I'm not sure that's what it really is. Organic writing? An innate ability? How about good old fashioned magic?
I don't know. All I know is this scene - this one I wrote and couldn't see the importance of - is laying the groundwork for a character who is extremely important to the plot of the book. In a way I hadn't seen before. I knew he was an integral secondary character when I started writing, but I didn't know HOW much of an impact he would have until this scene was done. And maybe that's why this scene had to be written - to show me what I was missing.
I have friends who are intense plotters and I have friends who are complete pantsters. We all have different ways of getting from chapter one to the end. But no matter how you get there, there is an element of magic in the writing process that takes over when you least expect it. I've learned to stop fighting it. When these moments come, when these strange scenes pop out that make me scratch my head and want to hit the delete key, I wait and give my brain time to catch up. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't, but if there's one thing I've learned about "my" process along the way, it's that I will never be wrong if I let the story go where it needs to go. And in this case, it hasn't changed the path of my synopsis, it's simply made it better.
So I'll give you a hint. The definitions above are from the words ability, instinct and talent, and each group of words describes one of those. See if you can pick out which is which. And then tell me...what kind of writer are you? One with a strong ability, a natural instinct, or a well-developed talent? Or maybe you are a combination of several?
Also...just so I don't think I'm a total freak...have any of you ever had something like this happen to you...where you write a scene with no idea how it fits only to realize later it was extremely important?