One of the first rules my first boss ever taught me was to have no surprises. I took it to heart and made a career out of making plans and contingencies for contingencies. When my path veered towards writing, I quickly realized that it was the first rule I needed to break.
Whether we’re sitting through Inception, watching an episode of Fringe or reading a novel, we want one thing: To be presented with something so unexpected that it makes us throw our heads back, gasp, and wonder what’s going to happen next.
As a writer, I want – need – the experience of writing a book to be the same way. This is not something that comes naturally to me. I prefer my life to be curve ball free. I’m uncomfortable with every shade of out of the blue. I realize though, that if I knew exactly what my characters were going to do or where each turn of the story would go, I wouldn’t have the will to finish the novel – and neither would the reader.
Writing has taught me to be more tolerant, if not more appreciative of the unexpected in real life. Like plot twists, I suppose the universe throws them at us to keep things interesting and to keep us from skimming through our life’s pages. Surprises, good or bad, send a tremble though the normal, making us pay attention to the moment we’re standing in. They unsettle us, forcing us to regain our balance by taking a step forward.
What surprised you today?
p.s. My own surprise: My book cover! (But that, my friends, will have to wait for another post…)