Why won’t characters do as you want them to? It’s something I haven’t experienced myself but have heard of before on online writing forums and puzzled over how it could happen. After all, you write the story of the characters in front of you. You choose what happens.
In the writing of this story I’ve learned that it isn’t quite as simple as it appears. One of the first scenes that came into my mind was one I’ve already got an acronym for, The [Redacted] Night Scene, and I had it planned as being oh-so-romantic and ending with a happy moment for my protagonist.
What I had imagined as being a ten page written out scene, simple in its events and execution, has expanded and an extra depth to one of the characters has been added – that I hadn’t anticipated – which will change their arc throughout the novel as a whole. In a sense, I’m glad that this scene was one of the first I’ve wrote as otherwise I’d have a lot of revising to do straight away just to make their actions believable. It also adds another sub-plot in after the catalyst which will be interesting to explore. Writing up my thoughts on my writing like this is something that I didn’t think would be so helpful but it has already made me think — note to self, ensure that this changed character arc continues throughout the novel…
So, what have I got done today (aside from watching the first episode of Teen Wolf and stopping my cat from devouring a Christmas tree)?
Later: After seeing that there was going to be a meteor shower I went away for a while to have a look at that and other IRL things, but now I’m back to examine today’s writing successes!
Today I wrote six A4 pages on The [Redacted] Night Scene, which is pretty good seeing as up until today my total over numerous days writing was eight pages for the scene… For the first time in this project handwriting did not seem like the awkward way of slowing down the flow of words to think but instead a way to let character’s voices be heard without worrying about the right words. I think that’s what is changing with this project. It’s not about the right words, the right prose, it’s about telling the story as it should be. Everything else can wait for another draft.
The scene is complete at fourteen pages, longer than I thought it would be in the earliest pages when I was struggling to write it at all, with the outline card seeming awfully restrictive. I knew how the scene had to start and how it had to end, it was the middle I was unsure about what would happen. In the end it wrote itself and has left me in a position where I am excited to see what happens in the scene after and a scene after that which is now necessary. Sometimes it is the surprises in writing that makes it the most interesting.
On that note: