The Story as an Organism

Story organism

I know this may seem strange, but to me a story is like an organism. It’s alive in itself. I’ve been thinking a lot more about this concept in my work. I don’t feel like I am the person that controls the world, in a way. I’m the one that designs it. However, it’s not really my decision what the characters actually do in the world that I give them. I’m aware of the hypocrisy & ludicrous nature of such a statement. Though, it seems like the most honest way that I can describe the process for me as a writer.

I’ve always had this concept in the back of my mind while writing any type of fiction.  Yet that is where the idea stayed – and indeed festered – at the back of my mind. It is only now that I have begun to really plan out – as I have explored in my previous post – Upward Mobility (a screenplay) that the idea has gained more momentum. Though I place the characters in a specific conversation and know beforehand what they will discuss, this doesn’t always play out as I had planned.

Therefore, when I hinder its natural progress by planning it, it stops being a piece of organic matter and instead becomes something more robotic and controlled. I’m aware of how unusual of an interpretation of the process this may be however; it is nonetheless the clearest way that I can articulate it. I have the robotic skeleton – the treatment – and I know quite clearly where it will end up.

Yet, that is only that – my intention – and though I think that’s where the story will go, there is no guarantees. Ultimately, for me, the characters write the story. Is this normal? Are my views shared? All comments are very welcome in trying to pin down the creative beast…


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