Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WIP Woes. . . I mean . . . Wednesday

It would probably be more accurate to title this post: WIP Why Don't Characters Do What I Want Them To Do and Where Did All This Attitude Come From Anyway? But as you can see, that really is a smidgen long for a blog title.

As far as the progress part of Work In Progress, there is some. If I were to go by the word count meter on the sidebar then it doesn't seem like much progress, but that's because I had to switch around my scene order and so some parts didn't make sense and had to be deleted while I wrote more. So really I've been writing but the meter thingey doesn't adequately reflect that.

I had a grumpy weekend with my characters. First I realized a secondary character was way more interesting than one of my major characters.

Secondary character pipes up, "Of course I'm more intriguing. That other guy's totally lame."

"No, he's not! He's supposed to be the love interest. You know, the one with the history and all that chemistry with her."

"Capital L lame. And no chemistry. You know it."

I sigh from the depths of my sock-clad feet (not too thrilled with the signs of coming fall, just fyi). "You're right."

"And since you're finally admitting that I'm right, I'm going to let you in on some details and a whole new subplot to this story."

"What? Another subplot? But I'm already juggling . . . wait a minute. That's a really cool idea..."

"Don't forget all my friends here."

"Friends?" I look around at a whole new cast that steps out of the shadows. *gulp*

But this character wasn't the only one giving me fits. I was talking with an author friend about my WIP and she started asking me questions about my main character. You know, the one I should know inside and out since I did all that character development and even a personality test for? Yeah, that one. Well, I couldn't satisfactorily answer my friend's questions because the answers I thought I had just didn't seem to fit anymore. My main character and I were butting heads.

So yesterday I decided to sit down and let her talk. Just let her ramble and maybe we could figure out together where I'd gone wrong and why the scenes I was putting her through felt like trying to put doll clothes on a reluctant dog. Not that I've actually done that. . . much.

After I coaxed my main character from the corner where she was having a major pout attack, she let me have it. She cussed me out for totally ignoring her. And then she talked and talked and talked. Finally, after a while she wound down. I discovered that part of my problem is that her underlying motivation--what she wants deep down more than anything--is not what I thought. And not what I plotted for. No wonder she was dragging her heels so hard.

Enter pause, back up, erase, and re-plot.

Maybe I should listen more to the voices in my head.


Deborah said...

Sometimes your character has a major snit in the middle of your scene and you are left wondering where you are going to go after that. Because... obviously... she really didn't like being forced through the paces you had planned.

ElanaJ said...

This is so my writing life. Inside and out. I can never answer the questions about my characters. And my secondary characters are always more interesting. Back to the drawing board!

BTW, this made me smile. You are funny!

L.T. Elliot said...

That's wonderful that you LISTENED to your character though. That's not easy to do, you know.