My novel went through a sudden and surprising change this week. After a discussion with a fellow writer I realised that a secondary chracter was of far more importance than I had given her credit for and she has now elbowed her way in to the position of central character without much conscious input from me. In shifting the bases like this the plot has not compeltely altered but undergone a major and exciting shift. To accomodate this I have had to give one character his marching orders and drop him , pity because I really liked him, he was pretenious to an ubelievalbe degree but he had kind of grown on me, but he has gone, hopefully to resurface elsewhere some day.
I just wondered if anyone else has experienced similar almost organic changes in their novels, where you are happily proceding in one direction and the work decides to progress in another. Which begs the question , how far do we control the thing we write and how much is it, as it often seems to be, its own creature assuming its own form, with the writer as some kind of conduit or incubator?
Ha-ha absolutely! I rarely plan what I write and just let it happen, which does lead to a lot of redrafts and plugging up plot changes, but that's what keeps it exciting for me and gives me those regular feelings of joy when I realise what's going to happen next.
If one of your secondary characters starts waving their hands in the air and shouting that they want a leading role who are you to argue?!
Hi Sally, who am I to argue indeed, just the author into whose mind this lot marched one morning when I was half asleep, and to whom they have given no peace ever since and won't till their story is told!
I always think it's exciting to add a new plot or plot twist, bring in a new character or watch one develop in a way I didn't anticipate. Haven't removed on yet. I read somewhere that you should never throw a writing, character or so forth away. I've learned this the hard way, but unfortunately I find my auto delete finger has acted faster than my brain. Do you keep your characters like the one you removed so that you don't need to redevelop later? Do you do this for scenes as well?
Hi Marilyn, thanks for your reply. Oh, yes, I keep the chracters and scenes I have to delete, sometimes only in my head and they have been known to crop up when I am working on something else, calling "yoo hoo, remember me?" And they fit in to the new piece. This is harder with scenes but my characters are like people I have known and lost touch with, small things can remind me of them, they exisit where they came to life, in some deep level of my phsyche so I can never quite forget them.
That is so true. I don't forget my characters either! Wow I wish I was where you all are at with fans and followers! I can't wait to publish my story and develop a following. How fun is that?
In the beginning of my novel my MC accidentally saves a life and her life becomes intertwined with the life of the person she saves. I had already completed the second or third draft of my novel before my best Beta reader said, "Your MC is saving the wrong life. She's got to save this other guy."
Oh woe, but he was right, as usual. It changed everything. It was a lot of work but it made a much better book.
HI Petrea, thanks for the reply. It is suprising how radical one change can be, the effect it has on the whole book, I had suspected for some time that the chracter I have just ditched was in the wrong plot but I ignored it until this morning it just became so clear there really was no choice.
I've been stuck for a few weeks with nearly the same situation. I was feeling like a secondary character had hijacked the plot away from my MC, but after considering her position decided she was right where she belonged along side the MC. And it put into perspective another character I had only consider a bit player. She too has bigger role to play now and the addition really pulled the plot in tighter.Duh, and I'd been trying to figure out to rid myself of her scenes.
What do I know?
Hi Lynne, it seems we know nothing, any of us, and have to let the chracters sort themselves out. Like you, I have found my plot much tighter, the focus on two chracters more intense for allowing secondary character to take centre stage and dropping one chracter altogether.
Oh, heck yeah. In my original vision, Trevor was dead. Those of you familiar with the Trevolution (as if the series name isn't enough of a clue), Trevor now stars in four of my books, with two more set to be released this year and the possibility of a sixth.
I always say the purpose of the first draft is to get to the end and see where the story wants to go. Revision is for crafting everything toward that ending.
I hope your change brings you the sort of luck I've had with Trevor. He's got his own cult following!
I thought my novel was finished when a trusted reader pointed out that my heroine was ending up with the wrong love interest. I went back through the manuscript and made the necessary revisions that led her to choose the "right" one, and that added one or two more twists to the story, made it more interesting, deepened the protagonist, and brought my novel to a more believable and satisfying ending. Thank you, trusted readers!
@Susan, How fantastic! My writer's group is working for me in much th same way. First time in a writer's group and got in one a good one from the start :)