Tuesday, October 23, 2007

About the Notebook Switching...

As I worked on the La Llarona story, I started in a place of ambiguity (image of the woman at the bus stop, idea of a boy, but little more) and worked toward something more definite. Mid-WM, I figured out where I wanted the story to go. Then, Jenny and I switched notebooks and she took it someplace else. All I told her when she asked where it should go was, "Something spooky." That's what she did. Of course, since she's not psychic, how was she to know that she was doing it wrong?

I read what she wrote and my reaction was, "But that contradicts my plan, I can't use it." Then I thought, "I love this description here, though." Then, "And she did good with the spookiness." Bit by bit, I started thinking about what she did and about the real La Llarona story and what I was trying to do with the story. Bit by bit, I realized that although Jenny derailed my original train of thought, said derailing was exactly what I needed.

In a way, it's kind of like getting a pre-emptive critique. I imagine what would have happened when the group critiqued my original story, and I imagine their criticisms would suggest to do precisely what Jenny did for me.

Sometimes, it takes someone else to show us where the story is really going, especially when it's really going a different direction than we had planned. I can think of a couple of times this has happened to me, how about you? Any thoughts on collaboration? Has Jenny ever ruined one of your stories?


Jenny said...

She ruins everything I write. Especially when I don't know where I'm going and I turn to her and say "Where am I going with this?" and she turns back to me and says, "Damned if I know." Then the piece that I'm working on stagnates and I have to start new stuff. All while telling her to shut up, because *of course* she knows where *this* story should go. Sometimes I could smack her.

Mishell said...

Wow! Now I know the real Jenny. I was going to write about how wrong you are about Jenny, but after reading her comment, I can definately say there is something not quite right about that girl.

Jenny, have you ever thought about mood enhancing medications?