Six Pages This Morning, All is Good with the World

A question had been niggling me as questions are wont to–at least when they pertain to my story and therefore are really my job to solve, and solve quick.

How do characters M and B realize that two auspicious artifacts are connected, and why doesn’t M blow off S’s seeming deceit.  And for that matter, why did my character S make that odd, throw-away comment.  Why did the thought of what he suggested make me tingle with anticipation and a sense of rightness?  Was he right–did my protagonists really have to make that odd change of plan, or was he messing with them to buy time, or was there another nefarious plot afoot?  Or, as I reminded myself quietly, was that remark of his actually something I could delete. 

I do, after all, have the prerogative to have my characters unsay things.  But, at the same time, I need to give the story time to show me if the character’s unplanned action in fact has worth to the story, if it makes the plot stronger or just wider and disconnected and never ending.  In other words, is that string they tuck in going to unravel my entire fabric if I pull at it, or is it a crucial part to a pattern I myself simply never discerned before? 

Odd things, characters.  S has changed, too.  His role–no.  But his appearance and his mannerisms, and even his backstory.  Right now I’m trying to unite two visions of his backstory, but the crucial piece–how he’s connected with M–just fell into place over the past two mornings.  Today I slipped it in, and finally, VOILA, my question was resolved.

S fits much better into the story now, the awkward random coincidence thing is done and deleted, M’s instinctive understanding makes sense, and B’s impossible knowledge explained.  M’s emotions upon first hearing “the news” at the beginning of the second act of the novel no longer seems preternaturally restrained and aloof, and his growing anxiety and haste now make sense.

In other words:  All is well in the world.

It’s amazing how a good writing morning brightens up the day, no matter how filled with deadlines and impossibilities it may be.  🙂

When writing a novel, that’s pretty much what life turns into:  ‘House burned down.  Car stolen.  Cat exploded.  Did 1,500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.

~ Neil Gaiman

Road to Kazbegi

Road to Kazbegi

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About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
This entry was posted in antagonists, character development, characters, fiction, first drafts, mornings, plot, the unplanned, three acts, voice, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Six Pages This Morning, All is Good with the World

  1. Uninvoked says:

    Haha, that’s so true. No matter how awful everything else is going, if my writing is going good I’m okay.

  2. ralfast says:

    Haven’t had one of those in awhile. Spent the day in the hospital (Mom just got out of surgery). Not conducive to writing I’m afraid. Let see if tomorrow is better now that she is at home recuperating.

  3. Yarnspnr says:

    Nice that your problems solve themselves. I guess that’s why they call them ‘character led ‘ stories rather than ‘plot led.’ I keep my characters on a short leash. I don’t want any of them taking a run around the Union Army with JEB while General Lee sweats bullets at Gettysburg. That’s not to say they give me li’l tickles and nudges here and there along the way. I’ve been known to add, delete lines of conversation/description six or seven times as I do my chapter rewrites. Characters just don’t like having to toe the mark.

    • sputnitsa says:

      Heh, I wish they solved themselves. I spent a good amount of time scrunching my face and muttering to myself in public, while washing dishes and nigh near everywhere. Then finally–BOOM. And I heaved a sigh of relief.

      This only leaves another dozen million mysteries I have yet to unravel in the tale. 🙂

      I do wonder if my tale is truly character led–I mean, they do react to things on the ground which they can’t prevent, too. It’s an interesting question.

      Your characters sound very active and vibrant. 🙂 Do they at least stick to the point you’re trying to make when they take over the dialogue? 🙂

  4. matthewgraybosch says:

    I know what you mean, Sputnisa. I could have made no progress at my day job, but as long as I was able to belt out 500-2000 words at the cafe after work, I didn’t give a damn. I don’t think I’d worry so much about my continued unemployment if I was still writing at my old pace, but the only writing I’ve done lately is on my blog.

    • sputnitsa says:

      I know! I wonder how people who don’t write can GET through the day. At least with writing, your mood is set by YOU and your characters. Not someone else’s bad day or all the problems of the day. 🙂 It’s like a great anti-depressant. 🙂

      But Matthew, you can still write on your manuscript, right? You do have the manuscript with you?

  5. hope101 says:

    Yay. Woot for 3-day weekends, Internet, and characters that sort themselves out. Glad your fiction is working well for you.

    • sputnitsa says:

      Thankee!

      I managed to get the cold bug BAD this weekend, but got reading done and a couple more pages. Looking forward to health, but need to write either way. It’ll be interesting to read what I wrote while Benadryl/tylenoled up, and see if there’s any sense to it. I think the fact that I didn’t even finish a whole scene is a pretty big clue to how bad it’s gonna be 🙂

      But I tell myself people have written in worse circumstances… So I musts needs buck up!

  6. First, Ralfast- hope your mom is doing well.

    Sput- sounds like your characters are truly coming alive now. 🙂

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