Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When the Best Writing Happens

For the last few days, I’ve been working on a video to accompany a book coming out next spring. Why am I filming a whole year in advance? Because I need to get footage of wild roses in bloom, and that only happens one a year—now.

In some ways, structuring a video is a lot like organizing a book. It requires the same set of skills. But filming is completely different. There are so many things to think about—weather, lighting, sound.

When I write, I control every word on the page. But with filming (especially outdoors), so much is out of my control. Sometimes that’s incredibly frustrating, but it can also lead to unexpected miracles.

As I tried to capture footage of wild roses on a windy day, I focused hard on how the plants swayed and how the quality of light cast upon them changed as they moved. And suddenly, I had an a-ha moment.

Changing light. Flickering light. That was it—the perfect way to enrich the beginning and transition to the second section of a manuscript that had me stumped. In fact, I’d abandoned it months ago, thinking it was a lost cause.  

But in that moment, my hope was rekindled. I knew exactly what the manuscript needed. I didn’t even finish filming. I packed up, hurried home, pulled out that old manuscript, and began revising.

Sometimes the best writing happens when you aren’t even trying.


Unknown said...

Great example of the serendipity of creation, and how unexpected things can overlap (at least in the creative mind!)

Susan E. Goodman said...

Love those aha moments. Isn't it interesting that you and David (the post just before) each gave an account for your own recent versions. Perhaps it's spring or nature. What does it say about me that my best ones come in the shower?

Melissa Stewart said...

I definitely get them in the shower, too, Susan. And while driving. The mind works in mysterious ways.

April Pulley Sayre said...

So true, Melissa, about some of the best writing happening when you're not even trying. Love when it bubbles up that way!