Character vs. Plot

I couldn’t decide between writing something about writing and something titled, “Absence Makes the Heart Grow Pissed Off.” Since the latter would still have an unhappy ending and might be misconstrued, I have decided to postpone it.

Last time I was mentioning that I was picking up an old project and that some of it didn’t resonate with me, that there were gaps in motivations I needed to fill in. Well, I realized what it was: I don’t like how I was going to end it.

My original brain stormed ending didn’t correlate logically with the characters, so, the ending didn’t make a lot of sense. Story-wise, it wasn’t bad, but I had originally meant it for an anthology with a very structured theme. My ending stuck to that theme, even though the story outgrew that purpose. When I got a new thought for the story, the characters grew and, in fact, outgrew the story. I’ve never really been in a situation like this, so I wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

I’m doing the only thing I can: I’m going with it.

It’s not part of an anthology anymore and will likely be only a novella. That being said, I like the characters more than the original story thought, so I will keep the beginning and move on from there. However, I have to scrap like half of the original plot.

How I usually work is that I think of the barest bones of a plot and create characters that go with it. If things change, they change. Usually the characters will tell me what they are and are not going to do. For instance, if anyone has read my Winter’s Trial, Pearl was initially supposed to die, and that was going to be Austin’s biggest tragedy. The Pearl in my head laughed at me. She let me think I was going to kill her right up until the point where she stood up to Milton in his office. After I wrote that, the Pearl in my head looked at me and said, “So, you really think you’re brave enough to kill me?” I wasn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t. Next to Taylor, she was my favorite character and she kicked WAY too much ass. I killed someone else instead, but that character was always meant to die, no matter how much it ripped me up inside to do. (Am I the only one who mourns for a character that I had full control over?)

But this one was different. I think the characters were too individualized and too worked on to go with the plot, and I’m trying to cling to the plot as though it is a flotation device in very choppy waters. However, I’m so paralyzed and fixated that I’m not going anywhere. To make this worth my time, I have to let go, lose myself in the sea, and to go where it wants me to, not where I originally intended.

The characters are winning. And I think it’s supposed to be that way.


~ by Darren Endymion on February 5, 2015.

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