Monday, November 11, 2013

Writing About Some More Writing

Today I'm discussing what happens when I write my characters and realize that they want different things than I do.

So you've created some characters and set them loose in a fun, vibrant environment (erm, the environment will be another post, I'm sure) and now you want to get to the Big Plot Points you had envisioned. If you're better than me, you might have even written down these points in some form or another of an outline.

My problem is that sometimes, my characters don't want to do that. As I write scene after scene, trying to push them into a specific corner, they squirm and wiggle their way into different rooms, sometimes sprinting down hallways of ideas I can't see. (And then I have to be cautious, because I'm afraid of the unknown.)

Does that make me a bad writer if I can't control my characters?

I don't think it does. (Of course I don't think it does!) I just happen to prefer to write character-driven plot more than action-driven plot. There's nothing wrong with either form. But to me, it feels much more organic to step back and observe what my characters do in a situation rather than force them to do what I want them to.

I don't think it makes me a bad writer, but I think it means I have to be aware of pacing and making sure that I cut out superfluous scenes. I think it means I have to make sure my environments have interesting elements to interact with and I have to occasionally nudge my characters to explore their own personalities.

I think this all goes back to what I said a little bit ago about how I need to allow more time to pass in my writing. Although I am perfectly content to read about the ins and outs of my characters day after day, not everyone will feel the same way. By forcing myself to use time leaps (sorry, maybe they have a fancy name that I don't know the phrase for), I've been forcing myself to imagine what has happened in the interim time instead of writing down every time the main character has trouble falling asleep.

I'm pretty sure that's helping me balance my characters with a little bit of action. We'll find out.

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