The pages and pages of discarded stories I’ve started and never finished over the years taught me that I am one of those writers who has to have the majority of the story including chapters, scenes, and major plot points before I write page one. It was a practice that worked wonders on my last attempt. I was able to set myself a daily goal and then click clack clack slowly, but surely I was there.
This time though I am encountering something I hadn’t planned for, an unruly protagonist. I am now 14,000 words in (a feat I’m fairly proud of considering I have to squeeze in writing between day job and diaper changes) and she is determined to steal scenes destined for other characters. She’s made me want to growl at her, “I’m your creator, you need to hang back and let these other characters develop.” Does she listen? No. She continues to do whatever it is she wants.
She’s made me rearrange entire sequences already, and I’m not even out of the first act! I’ve wanted to tell her, “oh just you wait until the beta readers get here.” Then she nearly argues back at me, “I’m making your story better!” Unfortunately I secretly suspect she may prove to be right. At times such as these I think it is probably a good thing that I don’t have daughters in real life.
I’m a huge fan of the epic fantasy genre and used to frequently shake my fist and the various authors of series spanning 5+ books who seemed to loose control of their own storylines after book 3. I now am feeling like quite the hypocrite and do hereby promise to be more patient in the future.
- How to tell when you have a good idea for a story (onewildword.com)
- Writing Goals: 2014 [Part 10] – Trust The Process (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- Of why we write (ofshadowandfeathers.wordpress.com)
4 thoughts on “Oh the best laid plans…”
I know that feeling. In the beginning I had a story in mind, I thought I would write one book. Then I thought about the plot and found a twist I really liked and had to change it to two. Then I found another twist so evil I jumped on the spot repeatedly and decided to add one more book changing it to a trilogy. But unfortunately it did not stop, I soon expanded the story by trying to find how to end it and now I plan to do it in at least for books… Though it’s just a plan since I only have a mere 13 chapters as of now…
The same thing happened to the beginning of the story. I thought it would take 4 our 5 chapters to set the background and begin it but at number 14 I’m still one chapter short of finihing the introduction… It’s so had to plan ahead what it will become even when you have the outlines of the plot.
I sympathize with you and wish you good luck in finishing what you have started ! 😉
Post Scriptum: Main characters are really selfish aren’t they ?
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The best stories are written by the characters. Let her go.
Sounds like your story has taken on a life of its own, congratulations.
It is tricky. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to writing. Sometimes I reign in my characters, other times I let them run free, and who’s to say which is the right choice. We’re all just guessing, going off intuition, but in some ways isn’t that what makes stories so powerful, so magical.
The gratifying thing was it reached the ending I envisioned when I started out but took an unexpected (and likely more improved) route to get there.
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