Best of the Blog: When Something Doesn’t Turn Out the Way You Wanted It To

This is not a cooking article.

However, I digress: I am really bad at baking. I’m not too bad at cooking and can perform minor culinary triumphs, but I couldn’t bake a batch of cookies to save my life. The same goes with cake, brownies, and pretty much every cooking project that utilizes an oven. I’m pitiful.

But hey, who needs baking when you’ve got writing? Even though baking never turns out the way I want it to, I can still write. And the thing about writing is that it always turns out the way you want it. Ideas and characters and places and dramatic events all blend in harmoniously exactly how you envisioned them, right?

Ah, no.

That’s a laugh, honestly. Cooking is an art. Painting is an art. Sculpting is an art. All arts require practice. Writing is no exception. Just because you imagine something doesn’t make it true. It takes hard work and practice. But this article isn’t about even that: there’s a deeper problem with this topic.

Let me put it this way: some books don’t translate well into movies. For example: movies with a lot of internal dialogue don’t usually have a conventional way of telling you what the characters are thinking. They have to manifest themselves in reality in some way. This just goes to show that books cover different mediums than movies.

Here’s the nature of the problem: some ideas that your mind conceives of don’t translate well on paper, even if you’re a skilled writer. Your mind doesn’t necessarily operate completely off the rules of reality. It wants to fantasize, to imagine how things would be out of touch with reality.

Unfortunately, ideas like these do not do well in book form. It may seem ridiculous, but when it happens, it’s plain to see. I’m not saying that your constrain your mind to think of only that which is clearly possible. You do have to give yourself room to dream, to fantasize about a world that does not exist.

However, don’t be the guy (or gal) that thought of an idea that didn’t agree with the laws of reality (either in your world of fiction of just doesn’t make sense) and published it. This happens to most writers. You think that this idea would work in the story, but actually doesn’t.

Here’s an example. I envision by the end of this story that the main hero will fall in love with this simple farm girl. So I work towards that end. However, I haven’t taken into account that I originally intended for him to be a hard-balled, unemotional rascal who cares nothing for love. So I have a contradiction of character, because I didn’t take into account all things that effected this choice in time.

There are two ways to remedy this: one, you can change the phenomenon. Scrub your special plan and start over. Go back to the drawing board and take your ideas more seriously. We don’t write in dreams, in contradictory ideas. We must write cleverly, clearly, and concisely.

Two, you can change the rules. In my example, I could write out my original plans for the character to make the story congruent. Even better, I could make him change his character (character development) and change the rules that way. Either way, if something doesn’t turn out the way you want it, just know that not all ideas of yours are congruent with your fictional reality.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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