“The only safe thing is to take a chance.”
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”
Lighting a fire here! Things are heating up on the revision front. I’m moving into the home stretch. My little heroine will soon enter a forbidding forest where all sorts of dastardly things are going to happen. Some time ago, while I was out walking, a really wild idea came to me about this section of my book. A phrase popped into my head and I started playing with it. Luckily, I didn’t forget it before I got home because I had nothing to write with (reminder: bring paper and pen on walks!).
Somehow, this single phrase mushroomed into a whole scene, a chant, and bigger still, a possible major new plot thread. I scrawled all these elements down whenever they came to me and filed them away. That sounds too neat for me: Actually, I put them in a pile, no two piles. Anyway, I set all this aside and returned to my story. Now I’m at a point where I have to fish or cut bait: I have to make a decision about whether to integrate my wild idea into my novel or not.
On the plus side, if I can put it across, the idea will give my story more weight and a link to contemporary issues, even though it’s a historical fantasy. On the down side, it’s moving my tale more heavily into magic realism, which might turn off some readers, young though they are. And it could also fall into a “message” mode — a deadly sin.
Here’s the rub: If I play it safe, I could be robbing my story of a layer of complexity and meaning that matter to me. If I risk going too far, my story might sink under the weight of an ungainly addition. What to do, what to do?
Writing all this down just helped me decide: I’m going to risk it! I’ve loved this idea ever since it popped into my head — and there must be a reason it did. I feel sure I can make it work with some work. If it doesn’t, I’ll take a flyer. If it does, well, that’s writing dangerously! So wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted.
What’s your wild idea? Is there something you’ve dreamed up but hesitate to go all out with? Why not start playing with it on paper and see where it takes you? Then set it aside, let it percolate, and revisit it. Give it wings and it make take you and your readers some place wonderful. Write on!