Whenever I'm struggling with a concept in my writing, I turn to the old favorite classics for inspiration. This time I pawed through my bookcases, looking for the book that would settle my mind and boost my creativity at the same time. Choosing the right novel takes some doing and nothing on my shelves felt quite right. So I traveled to the juvenile fiction room at my library to find the book I needed.
The Cuthberts of Green Gables had decided to adopt an orphan - a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores ... Anne of Green Gables was exactly what I needed. Anne (with an e is so much more exciting - or so says Anne early in the book) is not a shy, quiet girl. She is full of surprises. And I realized that was what I had been looking for - surprises. Or rather, I needed to read how L.M. Montgomery wrote her surprises. The unexpected livens up a story like nothing else. Anne Shirley lied to Marilla once; perhaps you remember the scene I'm thinking of ~ Anne had never been to a picnice and was looking forward to going to her first, except Marilla's brooch had been moved. Lost, perhaps stolen, or so Marilla feared. The first time I read that part of the book I was so surprised that Anne would steal from her beloved mother-figure. But she confessed. She confessed to stealing it, then loosing it in the pond, the Lake of shining waters. I was flabergasted.
Then, then the real surprise came. Anne lied in hopes that a punishment could be handed out in time for her to attend the picnic. Marilla was further shocked to discover the deception when she found her brooch stuck in her shawl.
Great writing does that, it leads the reader into one surprise that follows another then another, until the reader is enthralled with such real life characters.
I've been reading another book of fun adventure and surprises, Girl of My Dreams, by our very own Morgan Mandel. Jillian wanted to help her boss, her heart throb by filling the vacant spot on the line-up for the reality show about to go on the air. She certainly didn't intend to stir up trouble. But the biggest surprise is her! Intrigue and daring escapades make this a fast read. You'll enjoy every twist and surprise! And like Anne Shirley, Jillian is more than she seems!
Whether I'm reading for relaxation or searching for inspiration, surprises on the page delight me. It's what keeps me stretching to improve my own writing skills. Taking time to abosorb another author's words fills an emptiness I didn't know needed filling.
Thinking about all of this, I might have to read another of L.M. Montgomery's novels. I'm not ready for Anne to slip back into the archives of my mind just yet. I'm hungry for another of her unforseen episodes! It doesn't matter that I've read it before, it still reads fresh and exciting. Isn't that surprising? Or is that just good writing?
Til next time ~