Writing fiction isn't so much about ordering characters around, so much as it is about letting them express their story their way. Sometimes you may get an idea of how a scene will go, but then when you actually sit to write it it doesn't work out the way you thought it would. Often only slightly, but sometimes drastically. Writing yesterday gave me one such experince like that: back when I first wrote down notes for this story I had thought up a scene for this book where Exelia would get drunk and get into a fierce argument with James. I had thought it all out, planned, and wrote down the points that I wanted to hit on in their argument. But when it came down to actually writing it, what the two of them did wasn't even close to what I had in mind. And it baffled and surprised me.
As it turned out, despite what I thought would happen, the character of Exelia's not at all an angry drunk. What I figured was sure to be an argument ended up turning into Exelia being a remorseful emotional wreck. And it worked perfectly. I sat back after finishing last night, looked at what i had written, and found no reason to try and change it to match what my idea was. This is who they were, this is what they did, and this is what fit their personalities. But then I was faced with a new problem. James was supposed to storm out in the argument, leave, and have the next thing in the story happen to him that would move the story along. Now, without the argument, there was no more reason for him to leave her, and now I didn't know how to move along the story.
It was on my mind all morning trying to reconsile this scene. I couldn't figure it out. Letting the characters do their own thing ended up veering so far off course than what I had envisioned that I couldn't find the path back. I spent all day trying to figure it out, trying to undo the mess they created, when i finally realized I should just leave it to them. Let them progress naturally from there. And so once i put hand to keyboard and started letting them play it out from there, everything fell neatly into place, creating the perfect opening to continue with where I wanted to take the story, the setup even better than what I had planned ahead for.
In short, sometimes it's best to just let the characters write your story themselves.
Date posted: 08 November, 2014 Tags: nanowrimo writing
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