Saturday, May 23, 2015

When to Cut and When to Recast

I have a bit of a conundrum and so I am writing about it, which is what I do when my thoughts begin circling the same drain for too long.

When I submitted my latest book, it was with the full knowledge I had written a scene and side story that impacted the main character in quite negative ways. It was a gamble and unfortunately it didn't pay off. Now I must rework the story to change a major arc and no matter what I do, nothing is as powerful as that original line.

But in watching the major meltdown Game of Thrones readers and watchers are going through right now with the Sansa Stark story changes, I see the side of the reader for the first time.

We set expectations with our characters, and people begin to identify with them, so they acquire a life of their own, outside of our pages. But what about stories where none of the characters are relatable? Can we write our own characters into corners that are too extreme to be endearing?

Of course we can, and that was the problem with this story. So now I am grasping (and gasping) to recast the main character's reason for existing and falling far short of where I want to be. I've finally decided to meet the challenge and that instead of one major point causing her identity crisis, there will be several, each building upon the other until finally she reaches the person she needs to be.

As you might surmise, this is still an idea in progress. While I see the end point, the journey is still muddy. But that's what writing is about, at least to me. Chipping away at the marble until I find the beauty inside; a story lives and breathes depending upon which pieces you take away. Take the wrong path and everything is tainted.

This is the sixth story I've written and the first where I've been told, I love it but... . To say it took me for a loop would be an understatement. But now I feel ready to accept the challenge. I know where I want to be, now I have to find the path.

And the road goes on.

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