Wednesday, October 6, 2010

PSA: Character Chemistry

This post shall be brief, because I would like to get back to my authorial duties of working on my WIP. I thought I would share some awesome gems I've recently turned up during the course of the past few days.

*Don't be afraid to play around with your cast of characters.

I don't know about you, but most of the time my cast of characters arrive in the story intact. It's usually because I have an idea for characters in a certain situation first, and from there the story spins out. In the case of my current WIP however, the characters have evolved and changed, as the story idea revolved and changed. At first, this was very scary. I didn't have a good handle on the characters, which is new for me. But as I pushed deeper and harder when developing my characters, wonderful things have happened.

Namely, I struck the right combination of characters yesterday and the plot is sizzling from it. This should be a test: if your plot is not creating sparks between the events and the characters, you should consider changing some things up. Most of the time you don't need a drastic change either, just some fine tuning of back story, motivation, and personality traits. My characters are mostly the same as they were last week, but now they are MORE.

*Don't be afraid to let your story morph as you develop and write it.

Again, it's a little scary when you're writing and things start to slide sideways. You don't quite know how it happened, but one minute you're writing lighthearted crime fiction, and the next minute the story has taken a side step into deeper paranormal something. This is generally a good thing. You want your story to develop and grow, first while you're building the world and plot, and then as you're writing it. Trust me, this organic chemestry can make or break your story. 

The trick here is to weed out the directions that are totally different from what you're writing. If you're writing a comedy of manners, and suddenly a brutal double homicide subplot shows up, chances are this new thread isn't going to fit. You need to recognize the twists that come from inspiration that helps your story, and the twists that hurt this story. You could always save them for another story if it doesn't work for the current story you're writing. 

Most of the time the story morphs and changes as I write it. For this WIP, it's morphing and changing as I am developing it, and I suspect it's not done. Not done until after the first draft is done, and not even then. 

Of course, you should also have fun and try not to worry too much about this sorts of occurrences. But I thought I would blog about this event, since it was very scary at first. I thought maybe I was messing things up, but I saw the new twists through and now my story is better for it. So when in doubt, see it out! (yes, I just made a corny rhyme. So sue me, half of my brain is one a distant planet, working out the details of the dead...)

Have a great evening folks and feel free to share similar tales of woe and wonder!

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