I admit it. I like to be in control. My house, my family, my job… this list goes on. I like to pilot and navigate. That doesn’t always pan out for me in real life. Mostly because in real life, stuff happens. Family and friends get sick. Vacation plans get thwarted. The recipe doesn’t work. The gift isn’t as great a hit as we expect. Transmissions go out. That’s real life. I mope.
Even reading books or watching movies and television, I talk back to the page or screen or characters. “No! He can’t die! He still has to tell her how much he loves her!” And then he’s dead. And I mope.
Perhaps that is what I love most about being a writer. I get to be the creator and designer of a world where things go as I plan. That is not to say that life is perfect where I write, either. My characters often get their plans thwarted. (I really like that word.) There are storms, crashes, fires, disease. People still die. But the difference is that I know it’s going to happen. I’ve planned for it.
I will confess that occasionally, one of my characters might say something that is completely unexpected, sending the whole story into a hard right turn. Sometimes I’m left with a terrible decision whether to cut or keep. I may agonize for days. I may even mope about my choice. I may have to make a sacrifice to work it all out. But even then I am in control. It’s my world—my creation.
Writing is not only a way for me to feel in control, though it’s a big part of it. It’s also a way for me to remind myself that even though bad stuff happens—a lot—all the time—that is the very meat of what makes a story wonderful.
Once upon a time there was a princess that lived in a castle and had everything she ever wanted. Everything was beautiful and she lived happily ever after. The end.
It’s what we say we want, but of course that’s not what we want at all. Without dragons knights aren’t necessary. There are no warriors without battles. Without conflict there comes no strength.
Yes, I am a control freak. And yes, I am a writer. And being the latter helps me to deal with being the former. So in the midst of my moping, I write on.