writing by the seat of your pants

… a tragic tale of a plot that went one way, an author who tried to steer elsewhere, and the resulting botched set-up.

I think I’m going to have to rewrite much of last Saturday’s progress. I’m keeping the line I liked so much, I’m keeping the new character, and I won’t change the situation… but the pacing and setting was meant for another encounter, and it just doesn’t work.

The good news is, the changes will eventually lead back to my outline. Also good news… I complicated the plot even further by damaging a devoted servant of a character my protagonist really needs. Bad news? I don’t want to be less than forty percent completed. 😦

outline? what outline?

Today’s writing is a fine example of why my nice little chapter-synopses have little or no bearing on reality.

I spent days working out how the rest of the book was going to go. A few chapters ago, I started deviating. It felt right. I don’t argue with my characters, as a rule. At the end of Chapter Seven we were almost on track. Now? Not only did the kidnappers not be the mercenaries I’d expected, I also introduced a new important character. And he’s a cocky little bastard that won’t hear of leaving my plot.

I did, however, write a line that I’m very fond of. I thought I’d share.

“Rylan du Jadis, it is an honor. My lord wishes to commend you for your bravery, congratulate you for your performance, and condemn you for your idiocy.”

Didn’t I say that this guy is going to be trouble? Hmm?

plot, the contortionist

My changes to plot has fixed a hundred problems that I didn’t account for when I wrote the 0-draft in NaNoWriMo. Subplots have popped up, interweave with the main storyline, the characters, even unintentionally, are changing as the story progresses. Rylan finally believes he knows what to do and is starting to act like the pseudo-noble that he is.

The problem is that in my first write (and this was one of the problems with that draft that I hadn’t specifically identified) my characters’ strength and connections had remained fairly static throughout the story. Now that I’m paying more attention to the villains, I’ve realized that if they’re going to survive, they need allies and connections.

Allies and connections means that the catalyst that brings them down is no longer going to work. Not even remotely. My characters would have to be blitheringly stupid to even get close. Which means that one of my key events is completely wrong.

Now, I could find ways to explain it off. Ick, no. I can’t even salvage part of the original plan and make it consistent and believable. I am not going to bend and twist my plot to give it a preordained mediocre pre-climax. Plot can be a contortionist in some cases, but the moment it had a foot sticking out of its stomach, something’s wrong.

My villain’s going to have to do something pretty amazing to bring them down now. I’m going to keep on writing, and see how it happens, because I’m off my outline.