Let Those Chickens Run!

currently playing on my iPod: La Vie En Rose by Sophie Milman

I have chickens. Why? you ask. Because they’re funny, and if push comes to shove, also dinner. And occasionally, they bring on a brainstorm. Just listen.

Today my chickens escaped their run, and instead of herding them up right away, I let them run. I thought they’d scamper down the easy path toward the creek and ultimate freeeeeedom (must say with faux Scots accent), but no, they pushed right into a calf-high leaf pile. Hm.

Perhaps they aren’t as smart as I hoped. Maybe they like to play in leaf piles. They certainly rummaged around for a while, happily clucking. What if one of them spied a mealworm the size of a corn dog and is bragging about it right now as they settle in for the night?

The point is, the girls didn’t behave as I thought they would.

The characters in your wip can be like that.

If you let them.

With no outline in sight, write an exciting scene like a chase, a make-out session, or a snarly confrontation. Listen to your characters’ voices, not yours. Permit them to get angry or become apathetic, “watching” the other characters’ reactions. Allow them to do something horrible.

Let your chickens run.

They might just go for the leaf pile and surprise you.

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9 Responses to Let Those Chickens Run!

  1. It’s great to give them their head. The trick is to keep those chickens moving in a forward direction and not allow them to mill about aimlessly. Always keep your eye on plot.

  2. Kate says:

    Oh man, I love chickens!

  3. dianaoverbey says:

    Great post! I’ve been trying to do that more with my characters in my latest WIP. It can be exhausting, but well worth it. I think it helps to get that elusive unique “voice” onto the page.

  4. I love chickens! I love this blog post. The imagery is fantastic- When I was growing up I had a flock of chickens and I can imagine them all settling happily into a giant pile of leaves. :)

  5. lexacain says:

    Funny post! I like your idea, but I never let my chickens run free. They can wreck the whole farm (or book), so I keep the fences very high. No escapees for me! lol

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