Good morning, Teachers Write campers! I’m on a four-day writers’ retreat myself this week, scribbling away with 18 other authors at a big old inn on Lake Champlain. (I so wish all of you could be here, too!) I’ve been writing-writing-writing, and not commenting so much. But rest assured, I’ll check in and get caught up by the weekend. Keep cheering for one another, too, okay?
Our Tuesday Quick-Write guest author today is Megan Miranda. Megan was a scientist and high school teacher before writing Fracture, which came out of her fascination with scientific mysteries—especially those associated with the brain. Megan has a BS in biology from MIT and spent her post-college years either rocking a lab coat or reading books. She lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, where she volunteers as an MIT Educational Counselor. Fracture is her first novel, and Hysteria will be forthcoming this winter. Learn more at her website: http://www.meganmiranda.com/
I have a confession: I am not an outliner. And because of this, my first drafts are very much discovery drafts. This is an exercise I do whenever I get stuck with the external plot (and as someone who typically has to write nearly an entire draft before finding the right plot, this happens a lot):
Rain makes things happen: Things go wrong in the rain. Accidents happen. Houses flood. People are late, appointments are missed, plans are canceled. Evidence gets washed away. Strangers help each other on the side of the road, people share umbrellas, people meet. Or people don’t meet.
Rain reveals character: Do your characters carry umbrellas, or are they totally unprepared? Do they stomp in the puddles? Does she run with a newspaper over her head? Or smile because she gets to wear those totally impractical neon green galoshes she spent way too much money on?
Something as simple as changing the weather opens me up to many other possibilities. It’s my way of brainstorming inside a scene. Truth is, the rain doesn’t always make the cut during revision, but the heart of the scene—the events, the character reactions—they become my story.
So, as an exercise, whatever scene you’re currently writing (or if you’re starting something new), try this: make it rain. And if it’s already raining, make it snow. See what happens. See how your character reacts.
It’s always a surprise for me.
(Right now, I’m about halfway through a first draft. I’m pretty sure it’s been raining for a month straight.)
Note from Kate: If you don’t have a fiction work-in-progress, try this quick-write with a favorite scene from any favorite novel. Play weather god and change one of the scenes by making it rain. What happens?