Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Detours

Last Thursday, the Adventure bug bit hard, so my husband and I decided to set out that afternoon for a motorcycle jaunt through Upstate New York and New England. Our trip was barely underway, however, when we received word that a good friend and ministry colleague had died. (The 58-year-old had fallen and evidently developed a blood clot that traveled to his heart.) So, we turned our bike around in Rochester, NY, and headed for home to attend the funeral in western Ohio yesterday afternoon.

On our long car drive back to Canton, we plotted and planned to get back out on the rode early this morning to continue our trek. This time, we thought we might head south to Tennessee and travel the Blue Ridge Parkway back home. David loaded the bike back up with clean clothes and we laid out our jeans and tee-shirts so we could slide into them and hit the open road at five a.m.

At four a.m., we switched on the TV to catch the weather forecast. By all predictions, the storm of the century was headed our way with hail and damaging winds. Needless to say, we canceled our riding plans again. Now, it's noon and we've yet to see rain materialize.

No matter how thoroughly a writer has plotted and planned a story's course, there always seem to be those unexpected detours and interruptions that arise to set our characters on a different path. How they respond to the new choices of action laid before them are dictated by their personalities, goals, and motivations. My husband and I could have decided to ignore the sad news and skip the funeral. . .forging our way ahead to New England instead. But that wouldn't have been true to our values. We had no other choice but to come back to Ohio to pay our last respects to a friend.

If we had been true motorcycle fanatics, we would have hit the road again this morning, come rain or hail or high water. But we try to sprinkle a bit of reasonableness amid our motorcycle mania.

Those twists and turns will come, just make sure you know your character well enough to remain true to the choices they would realistically make, based on their personality, morals and values.

As for me and my dear husband, we may just seize this moment in the sun and head for the open road after all. One can only be so responsible and mature. SKD

5 comments:

Vickie said...

Susan,

Sorry your trip didn't work out as planned. I had a motorcycle when I was a teenager. I loved the freedom of riding with the wind whipping at my clothes. Fun times.

Mary Connealy said...

Be true to your story and your characters, sound advice. And all given by a woman who runs all over the country on a motorcycle.

You are truly a renaissance woman, Susan.

And yes, I had to run spell check on the word renaissance. I'm not too proud to admit it.

Cindy Thomson said...

No matter how thoroughly a writer has plotted and planned a story's course, there always seem to be those unexpected detours and interruptions that arise to set our characters on a different path.

Thanks. I'm going to show that to my husband who just raised his eyebrows at me when I said things were happening at the end of my WIP that I did not know were going to happen. (Only people like us get that!!)

Weird Ohio weather, but I think next weekend is supposed to be nice!

Becky said...

Hey, Susan, where's that weather? My garden could use a drink.

Crystal Laine Miller said...

My husband and I took off for three days on our motorcycle to Southern Indiana and rode 675 miles. Our longest trip to date had been about 350 miles in a day, so it was a new adventure. My challenge was to pack only enough to fit into that little side bag!

We had many "adventures" and what I've learned is that riding on a motorcycle brings you much closer to the road, others and to nature (the elements!) It was fun. I can't wait to go again.

The road still calls. There will be more days for you two.