Authentically Human! Not Written by AI!
All Content Copyright © Michael Chesley Johnson AIS PSA MPAC

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Working with a Clear Vision

Besides being a painter, I'm a writer.  Writing comes easiest to me when I have a clear vision of where the writing will go.  Though the analogy is an old and tired one, it's fitting; a successful trip requires a good map and a definite destination.  When I write a magazine article, such as a feature interview or a technical column, I know my destination and how I'll get there.  The articles follow an established format.

On the other hand, I have the hardest time with fiction.  Whereas writing non-fiction is like a drive down the road to a place I've been many times before, writing fiction is more like a backpacking adventure into the wilderness.  Although I always have a trail map, I'm often sidetracked.  Sometimes a secondary trail looks more interesting.  Sometimes I get confused when the trail forks.  Sometimes I wonder if the hill to my right might give a good view.  Sometimes—well, you get the picture.  The plot outline I so meticulously crafted gets tossed into the trash, or at least heavily revised, when a character does something unexpected.

But perhaps not surprisingly, taking a turn that's not on the route, or letting the character do something outside the outline, can lead to a richer end.

Need I say it's the same with painting?  Having a clear vision of where you are going will take you to a satisfactory outcome soonest.  But sometimes, not having that clear vision, despite the detours, obstacles and time lost, will take you to a place that is far better.