Rabbit-hole-fall

Writers Must Fall Into Their Rabbit Holes. Completely. Utterly.

Authors know what I’m talking about. Experimenting with stories exposes rabbit holes. One character finds utopia while another goes to hell. Both are places few authors have visited so both will require authors to take a leap into worlds they know little about.

Think of the sighted author who wants to write a strong, blind protagonist into their next great story. Everything about the subject will come from bits of experience mixed with known stereotypes, speculation, expectation and creative license. The rabbit hole I speak of is the writer beginning with a basic character who sports dark sunglasses, to one who ends up wearing the skin of the blind whereby they are able to sense the world through the tips of their toes. It’d be a leap into a world they’ve never visited — but leaping is what improves the creative writing process!

Writers must allow themselves the courage to take risks and immerse themselves into the unknown — and to fall to wherever gravity takes them. That’s the rabbit hole deal. Nothing comes from writing safe. Unless a writer is an expert on a topic, every story they’ll create from one will have its limitations because their knowledge isn’t endless. The only way to become more intimate with a topic is to jump into a rabbit hole to find what’s out down there. It makes for better storytelling to be able to drop, discover and write from the experience. If a sighted reader (or a blind one) can feel blind as they read about a blind character, things are going on the right track.

The additional piece of information to include is, it still has to feel real to the reader or they’ll be lost forever.

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Every story has its fantastical side but then it also has its laws and boundaries by which writers must abide. The rabbit hole metaphor is itself, fantastical, but it’s supported by oodles of realism. A hole assumes gravity is present. When I say leap, you can already assume something of direction. The hole has edges and it’s assumed that those edges sit in the here and now. The safe side is here while everything else unknown is beyond and below them. There’s a bold line of division — and it doesn’t matter how outrageous a story will become, it must still have this kind of realism to ground it.

You found this post and knew the story wasn’t going to be about rabbits or holes. A grounding metaphor brought you here, not fluffy animals. The metaphor did its job by advancing the storytelling process so that this brief post becomes something about creating stories, falling into the unknown and then discovering ourselves along the way. It’s about exploring things with a child’s wonder and being open to everything — and there’s no right or wrong when it comes to discovery.

There are, however, right and wrongs in how we go about writing what we find and putting it into stories.

But that’s a different discussion for another day.

Michael Forman

-M

Five women’s bodies are discovered after the nights of thunderstorms. Their spouses are suspected of the crimes, but it becomes clear that someone else is responsible. There’s no blood and few clues. A storm photographer specialising in taking lightning pictures may be the only witness.

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