Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dead Man Talking

Happy New Year! (Even though I feel like January is already almost over.)

I had an interesting experience with my WIP, perhaps not an unusual one, but definitely new to me. I had this one planned out. I knew where the story should go, what I wanted to say. For me, getting to know the characters is key to my writing so I did character sketches, lived with my characters, and tried to really get inside their heads--the protagonist, his two buddies, his nemesis, his dad, his buddies' parents--I had it all covered. But still it went nowhere. I could not get past certain points in the plot. Then I realised the issue.

There was one character that I had not considered, had not spent time with, had not got to know at all ... the dead guy. You see the story begins with the protagonist's brother already dead and the reality is that the story spins around him and why he died and to understand why he died I have to get to know him.

It seems like every novel comes with its own challenges and idiosyncrasies. What are some unusual challenges that you have faced in writing?


Charles Gramlich said...

I can see how that might mess up the proceedings. I wouldn't have thought of it myself most likely.

Liane Spicer said...

Happy New Year, Carol!

Intriguing. I can see the logic in that. One unusual challenge for me was getting inside the mind of a character in a current short story, someone whose life experience is very different from mine. Telling the story in first person meant I really had to try to enter her consciousness and let her think/speak, rather than direct her thinking/speech. I had to go through that story at least 20 times to eliminate the authorial intrusion, and even now I'm not sure that I really got it right.

Jewel Amethyst said...

My major issue is that I usually write without an outline and run into a lot of dead ends. That's why I describe myself as having a harem of WIPs. But when I try an outline, the story still takes on a life of its own and you know how that ends.

You're right, every story and every author comes with its own challenges and idiosyncrasies.