ROW update- What to do with your character?

Posted: February 22, 2015 in ROW80 Check, Writing
Tags: , ,

Lots of writing has been done in the past three weeks. I have been doing some back story work as well as trying to tighten up the ideas behind a story that I let drift to the side. I am really liking the basis of my WIP Assassin’s Ward, and am trying to do the research needed to turn it into a real piece. That being said I haven’t done as much work on the actual writing of the story as I might of liked to.

Right now I am at a bit of a stand still, and I figured I would give you another bit of advice from my “expert in my own head” POV.

Don’t let your character(s) run roughshod over your work. Now, I am all about letting your characters get out there and do their own thing. We wouldn’t want them to be one-dimensional and all that, but there are limits. After all we live in a world with laws and rules ourselves. We can’t really do what we want all of the time, can we?

Okay, maybe you can, and for that I envy you.

Anyway, back to your character. You spent all of your time creating your setting and your detailed plot lines. Your antagonist is the perfect adversary and everything is balanced but for one detail. Your protagonist is being a big giant pain in the rear and won’t go where you need her to go.  She would rather go off to Paris than to visit her aunt in Upstate New York, but you need her to meet the love of her life there. It serves you right for creating a strong-willed, independent minded woman. What do we do now? Have her meet the person of her dreams in Paris? No! There is a reason you wanted Upstate New York so get her there.

Most people are not going to willingly give up a trip to Paris. The reason not to do so must be compelling. It must be a matter of great import and weight. What if her uncle fell ill? True, it’s been done before, but it does have the right weight. Ah, but you want to stick out from the crowd, and who could blame you. Fine, I get it. Instead of her uncle falling ill what if he unexpectedly came out of his five year coma and seems none the worse for wear, and it is her favorite uncle. The man that practically raised her. She couldn’t go to France now, could she.

You’ve got her.

There are going to be times that you need to steer your stubborn as a jackass protagonist to get them pointed in the right directions. What you first plan out almost never works smoothly, and can often be less interesting than the situations that arise through happenstance. In my example above the story has many more things that can now occur upstate than just falling in love. Her aunt will be overjoyed and also paranoid that something bad will happen again. The uncle will feel compelled to make up for lost time, and that includes the time he wasn’t able to “father” your protagonist just as she meets the man or woman she is destined (maybe) to spend the rest of her life with.

Wow! You are good.

Had you not worked at this your character would have either destroyed your whole story by escaping to Paris or would have simply flowed through your plot points as easy as going down a stream. Now there are several things at stake.

These are the ideas I try to take with me as I look at my characters. Early in my writing my characters just flowed, and the stories were fine. Now I try to get more in there and the stories are definitely getting better. I can only hope that I continue developing, and I hope you do as well.

Enjoy and keep writing.

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