I was reading the transcript of an interview Stephenie Meyer did a while back about her "Twilight" series. And in the interview she was asked why the story arc went a certain direction. Ms. Meyer said, basically, that she was just as surprised as the reader was. That Edward had decided he wanted to go that way, so that was the way the story went.
A commenter on the interview post said, Omigosh! She must be completely delusional to think her characters can come to life and tell her what to do, the woman is crazy!
I realized that when I read what Ms. Meyer had said, I hadn't thought a thing of it. It made perfect sense to me that the author's creation seemed to have a mind, a voice, opinion, and direction of it's own. Whereas to someone else--maybe someone who has never written or created--that just sounds coo-coo for coco-puffs.
But I know it is true. Whenever I create anything, I can tell when it wants to go in a certain direction. With the jewelry I make, for example, I will have a specific design in my head. About eighty percent of the time what I end up with has the elements I started with, but has gone somewhere different. I get the same thing when I'm writing--the story or article comes to life--sometimes to the point that I have to rein it in a bit.
I think that when we create, we create something with real force and energy--not to the point that our creations are alive, like Edward physically walking in and telling Stephenie Meyer how to end her story. But something does happen. And I think we have a responsibility to make sure what we are doing with that force is true to it, and true to us. And hopefully, true to our audience as well.
The next time you get deeply involved in creating, take a moment to see if you don't feel what I'm talking about: something nudging you in a specific direction. And then see what happens if you follow it; release yourself to it. Bet you end up with something fabulous.
Just don't go all Pygmalion on it. Have you heard of him? He's a character in Greek mythology (upon which George Bernard Shaw based a play that was later turned into the musical My Fair Lady). Pygmalion was a sculptor who had become disenchanted with the local women. So he sculpted a woman of ivory who was so beautiful and realistic that he fell in love with her.
It's probably better if we don't get so caught up in what we are doing that we fall in love with it. I've done that. Usually what happens is I get some objectivity when someone starts snorting at it. Yeah. Fall in love, lose objectivity.
But that's a topic for another post.
So go, my children! Go create, feel, and be free!