Well March has arrived quickly, and with it comes the official end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. Usually the climate doesn’t pay that much attention to the calendar, but this year, as soon as the 1st of March hit, the sweltering heat gave immediate way to the cool swirling winds (not that I’m complaining – I die in the heat). And so it is fitting that the topic of this month’s ChristianWriters.com blog chain is swirling.

So what can I say about a topic like swirling? Well, I decided to start by doing what everone does when they want to look intelligent. I looked up the definition. Google’s Dictionary gives us this:

  1. Move in a twisting or spiraling pattern
    • the smoke was swirling around him
    • a flood of swirling emotions
  2. Cause to move in such a pattern
    • swirl a little cream into the soup

Swirling – Google Dictionary

The part of this that grabed my attention as a writer was the bit about swirling emotions. As writers we put our characters through swirling emotions all the time. It may seem a little cruel, but if we didn’t there would be no story and certainly no drama. We choose a point in the character’s life, break in and rock their world about. We stir things up and get them swirling. We follow the poor helpless entity through the whirlpool, throwing them ropes, only to drag them away before they are caught.

Eventually we make a way for the character to escape the swirling and get their life together again. All seems to be good in their world now – until we decide to write a sequel and swirl things up once more. It’s a good thing that our characters are imaginary – otherwise they may never forgive us.

I can’t help but think of the main character in my new online serial novel The Colonists. Anderson Bell wakes up disoriented and confused. When his memory returns, he finds himself responsible for the lives of thousands of people – perhaps even the entirety of the human race. This itself is enough to get a guy swirling on the inside, but being the sadistic author that I am, I’m not satisfied with that. I add some immediate problems that he has to overcome including an unexplained mystery, and the death of someone he relies on.

As I go through the process I’m learning something about this new writing format. There is ever more swirling involved. By nature of the format, I am writing short chapters which end in a hook, to keep the reader coming back week after week. That means that in a space of no more than 1000 words I need to move the plot along far enogh to leave the reader satisfied, but also swirl full circle to end with another mini cliffhanger. It could be enough to make a person dizzy if it weren’t so much fun.

There you have it. It seems that all of writing is in fact swirling, in a metaphorical sense, so bring on the whirlpool. This still water is getting boring.

Follow the chain

  • 1st March: Cindee Snider Re, Breathe Deeply
  • 2nd March: Sheila Hollinghead,Clearing Skies
  • 4th March: Tracy Krauss, Expression Express
  • 6th March: Chris Henderson, TheWriteChris
  • 7th March: Traci Bonney, Tracings
  • March 10: Keith Wallis, wordsculptures
  • March 12: Adam Collings, The Collings Zone
  • 13th March: Suzanne Hartman, Write at Home
  • 14th March: Liberty Speidel, Word Wanderings
  • 15th March: Ruth Rockafield, Power of the Pen
  • 16th March: Victor Travison, Lightwalker’s View
  • 17th March: Debra Ann Elliott, Writing with Debra
  • 18th March: Sarah Grace, Write-Minded
  • 19th March: Scott Fields, Dead Man Writing
  • 20th March: Edward Lewis, Sowing the Seeds
  • 22nd March: Lynn Mosher, Heading Home
  • 23rd March: Nona King, Word Obsession
  • 23rd March: Carrie Parker: Rivers of Water
  • 25th March: Chris Depew, The Beulah Land Blog
  • 28th March: Marti Smith, Telling Secrets
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    About Adam David Collings

    Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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    29 Responses to Swirling

    1. TraciB says:

      Excellent post, Adam. You’re absolutely right – without putting our characters in a swirl, there wouldn’t be a story. I have an idea I want to pursue, but at the moment it’s only a premise about a group of women who like to watch football (the American variety). I need to come up with a problem or conflict so I’ll have a plot. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of females eating potluck and yelling at the TV.

      I’m sure I’ll come up with something – just not sure what yet. My mind is doing a bit of swirling of its own…

      • That sounds like an interesting premise Traci. It could lead to all sorts of possibilities. Take your time and let the story develop. You might be suprised with what you come up with.

    2. E G Lewis says:

      This idea of the reverse season gets my mind swirling.
      Your story sounds interesting. Keep in mind all the Dickens novels were originally serialized…maybe you’re onto something there.
      Peace and Blessings

      • Yes whenever I look up serialised novels Dickens’ name continually pops up. It can’t hurt to follow in the footsteps of a master.

        The season thing is interesting. As people we tend to think that the whole world is just like our world, so it’s good to get outside our individual boxes. I think one of the reasons that the swapped seasons is particularly disorienting to you is that Americans seem to use the seasons as markers of time much more than we do in Australia. You often see “This movie is coming out in summer” (yes, but whose summer?). Here we just view the seasons as indicators of weather, and don’t talk about them much beyond that.

    3. Lynn Mosher says:

      Glad you joined the chain gang, Adam. I like your take on *swirling*! Great post!

    4. sheilaodomhollinghead says:

      Good post, Adam. Yep, takes some swirling to pull your readers in. The Colonists sounds like an interesting read!

    5. In my upcoming blog on Wednesday, I also reference a scene from one of my stories as part of my discussion on swirling. If I don’t procrastinate too much, I may even have my very first video blog, as well as text (presuming I don’t have trouble posting it!).

      I think we’ve all had great posts on “swirling” so far (and I mean collective “we,” of course). Great post, Adam.

      ~ VT

    6. Wordsculptor says:

      Can’t help but think that to be comfortable we need a bit less ‘swirl’ in our lives. Fortunately as a poet I don’t have to construct swirls for a plot but seem to be de-constructing them for a poem !

      • Yes I completely agree Keith. Swirling in fiction makes drama. Swirling in real life can lead to frustration and stress. I’ve had a bit of a swirly time lately. Lots of busyness at work and my wife on her nursing prac at the hospital, and lots happening in my extended family. So we want to stir it up in our fiction, but trust God to still the water in our life (unless of course he has a purpose for a little uncomfortable swirling)

    7. What a great post Adam! I love your take on swirling….

    8. thebiblestop says:

      Great take on swirling. Fiction is a lot like life, in that we all have little dramas swirled up in our lives. Scripture refers to them as trials or testings, opportunities to demonstrate where our faith really lies.

      • Yes. The swirls in life can be extremely challenging, but seeing them as opportunities to demonstrate faith is a powerful attitude. I must think that way more often. In fact, I need to think that way today. Thanks Chris.

    9. Tracy Krauss says:

      The emotional ‘swirl’ is what keeps the readers interest, for sure. This has been a fun month with a variety of responses to the theme. Good call, whoever came up with the idea! Your reference at the beginning about the seasons had my head in a swirl at first, until I remembered that you aren’t in the northern hemisphere like most of us! Enjoy the autumn. I’m still wishing for spring with a ten foot snow bank on my lawn …

    10. Sarah Grace says:

      Yes, there is a lot of swirling that goes into the writing of a novel! Great post, Adam!

    11. Adam, love your last lines and bring it on attitude: “There you have it. It seems that all of writing is in fact swirling, in a metaphorical sense, so bring on the whirlpool. This still water is getting boring.” I don’t often feel that sense of jumping in and swirling up the waters when I write. It’s engaging and makes me want to read your novel, to be left hanging, wanting more at the close of each chapter. Write on, fellow writer, and keep those waters swirling!

    12. Suzanne says:

      I never thought of putting our characters in conflict as swirling, but in a manner of speaking, that is what we do. We make their world swirl, which in turn sends their thoughts swirling. It kind of reminds us that we need to make the readers feel the inner swirling caused by the outer conflict and tension so the characters feel three-dimensional.

      BTW, you did an excellent job of swirling my mind at the beginning by referring to the seasons. It took a second reading and a bit of thought to stop the swirling and realize that you’re in the southern hemisphere. LOL

      • These particular characters feel more real to me that any other characters I’ve written in the past. Maybe it’s the swirling, maybe I learned something from writing my first novel draft, or maybe I’m just slowly gaining experience.

    13. Nona King says:

      I love your post! And so true. 🙂 Our characters would NEVER forgive us for the tortures we put them through in order to live vicariously through them. ;_; Your story sounds very intriguing! Is it sci-fi?

      • Thanks Nona. It is sci-fi. It’s about the colonisation of a new world, after Earth begins to undergo unexplainable and uncorrectable changes, making it slowly un-inhabitable. You can read the first two chapters (and another to be posted tomorrow) at colonists.wordpress.com

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