Writing Characters Into Corners
No matter how much I preplan a book, divergent threads develop and lead the project away from the original outline. Suddenly I’m scratching my head, stupified, wondering: “What the heck happened?”
There comes a point in every book where the culmination of events are amplified by different character quirks or subplots, and the story inevitably stalls. Usually when I’m seventy-five percent done writing a story, I find that the characters have put themselves in a situation I hadn’t anticipated.
Wait: if I’m in control of the characters, plot and everything in between, how can the story go astray? Because there is always something unexpected. Characters insist on being written a certain way and will fight being put into roles where they don’t belong. It feels off and simply wrong.
No plan survives the battlefield.
The trick is to find a way to write the characters out of the corner I’ve painted them into.
I’ve recently run adrift with the latest story of the Muttopia series. My werewolves have endured five books worth of chaos, character development and torture. In the most recent installment, I’ve got four very assertive characters pitted against each other. The hardest part is trying to reconcile a character with extreme PTSD and somehow integrate her back into society. The psychological challenges of the character have me proceeding with caution.
[Anyone familiar with PTSD and recovery should feel welcome to contact me, either on the page or in private.]
The good news is that I’ve figured out how to get over this monumental road block. The bad news is that I haven’t fully executed it yet.