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