Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Changing plans

I’m feeling a little sad at the moment. I finished Chapter 29 of my WIP yesterday and I had to do something to one of my characters that I didn’t enjoy at all. No, I didn’t kill him. What I did seemed worse somehow – but I’m not going to say what, because I don’t want to give it away. Let’s just say that even my ‘baddy’ felt remorse after he’d done it. He’s not going to recover before the end either. There’s not time.

He’s not real. Why do I feel so awful?

It’s funny how stories twist and turn away from what you originally intended. I’ve read lots of advice about planning novels. Many authors seem to think that they can’t start a novel without having their characters described in detail and every chapter mapped out. I can’t work that way. No matter what I think is going to happen, it doesn’t turn out the way I thought. All I have to start with is a vague network of things that might happen and a head full of ideas to hang on it.

When I first started this novel, I imagined this character as being the hero of the piece (though not the main character). He was just the person to save the day. But as I got going, that seemed too predictable, especially as the story involved a prophesy that pointed directly to him (and here I should say many thanks to Luc for helping me with that, too). So he had to go…Or did he? Is it still possible he might turn out the hero? I’m hoping I’ve added enough of a decoy to surprise people, to leave them wondering who actually was the hero in the end.

This is probably the part of story writing I love the most – this nutting out the problems in a plot that turn it from a straight story into a web of intrigue that will hopefully keep people turning the pages. I’m sure there are still glitches in this draft. After all it’s only the first. I know I need to condense the first six chapters into three. In fact I can probably cut some chapters altogether. There are things I need to foreshadow better, characters who can be more three-dimensional at the beginning now that I’ve got to know them.

Before that though, I have two or three more chapters to write…and I still don’t know exactly how the ending is going to happen. I know what’s going to happen, just not how. I started this book in March, so it’s the quickest first draft I’ve ever done. But the best part is how much I’ve enjoyed writing it. I’m almost loathe to finish it, because then it won’t be there to do any more.

Of course, there’s always the chance of a sequel!


Anna said...

"No matter what I think is going to happen, it doesn’t turn out the way I thought. All I have to start with is a vague network of things that might happen and a head full of ideas to hang on it."

I laughed when I read that because that's exactly what happens when I write. I've tried outlining and things always go completely off-track. I think it's more fun that way. :-)

Good luck with the ending!

Rena said...

Good luck with the remainder, Kate. I love how a story idea draws you in and takes you on a journey as you're writing it. :)

Lily Cate said...

I can't know too much in advance, either, otherwise I feel like I'm writing to the plot, and not letting the characters act naturally.
It means a lot more drafts, and lots of clear cutting in the early revisions. That's how I like to write, though!

Anonymous said...

Characters become real to a writer. I feel the same way sometimes. I have to be careful when I become carried away, because I notice I become too wordy at those times and end up doing a lot of editing afterwards.

Luc2 said...

You doing something bad to one of your characters? I wonder what it is. You haven't shocked me as a writer with a mean streak yet, but things can change.

I'm trying to get back into critting, so I will see it at one point.

Yep, it can always turn into a sequel, or worse, a prequel...

I wish I could write a first draft as fast and smoothly as you. That's really nice.

Kate said...

Thanks everyone. I'm glad I'm not the only one who writes the way I do or feels about her characters the way I do. I'm not so odd after all (well, not as far as writing goes anyway).

Luc, I'm sure you'll think it's pretty tame and pick holes in it - but first you have to get to it -hint, hint! Thanks for all your help. The crits I've had on CC have really helped it to go smoothly - stirring up ideas as I go along.

C.R. Evers said...

This is an awesome way to write! If you don't even know how it's going to end, then how will the reader be able to predict it? If the reader can predict it, then what fun is that? If the writer doesn't get into the story . . . how boring is that? You go girl! Write on! :0)

Kate said...

:D Thanks Christy, you made my day!

Yes it's good, as long as when I get to the end I can actually THINK of an ending! ;)