The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No writing yesterday; got caught up on e-mail and worked on 2 of 3 outstanding writing-related projects. Will write today, though.

I'm going to try to pick apart a problem I'm currently working on, because I caught myself starting to drone on about it in a private e-mail, which is unkind to those I am corresponding with.

Problem: when you need a character to do or say something. You can't just make them act or put words in their mouth, because that can mess up the book. They have to really do or say it, all on their own.

In my case, what I need from my MC is more of an internal change, and it's interwoven with other problems that need solving, but all I'm going to look at right now is me trying to get the character to fall in line with what the story needs.

Some of the things I've tried:
  • Write through, step-by-step, the MC's considerations as he reasons his way toward doing/saying what I need him to do/say.
  • Go through the scenes from other characters' POVs to see if fleshing out the scene helps.
  • Let the characters talk about the situation in scene to see if one of them influences the MC.
  • Rethink who's present.
  • Rethink when they're present (i.e. coming in, leaving).
  • Rethink what everyone's doing in the scene.
  • Break down the MC's considerations into smaller scenes; in other words, take him through the steps required to bring him to doing/saying what I need him to.
None of that quite works. Now I'm going past these types of changes to change the deeper structure of the story. I'm actually making these changes in an attempt to address other problems, but it may solve this one as well (the problems are all interrelated anyway; I'm not sure which is causing which). By changing the time of day, I don't have to account for the characters' interactions because they'll be asleep as soon as I'm done with them in scene. I can move straight into action the next morning, and story problems will come in more quickly, thus changing my MC's mindset. I'm also, er, thinking about drugging a character so he'll stay quiet while my MC works things out. Or giving him greater injuries than he's had in previous versions (again, so he won't be an active presence in the story for another scene or two).

Anyway, after I get all this worked out, I'll forget the process I went through--I may even think the story came out right the first time--so I wanted to get it down while I'm in the messy middle of it.