An glimpse into the mind of a writer working through a plot problem...
Have you ever had one of "those" days with your writing? I've spent a bit of today working on the motivations for one of my characters... Who would've thought that this simple task would lead to a major duh moment on my part?
I started my task by re-reading the scenes that this character is in so I could get a feel for his voice again, not that I could ever really forget it... he is one of my favorite characters after all. The more I read, the more in love with my new scene ideas I've become. I'm going to add in additional little mini scenes with this character to help build his character up with the reader. It will really add to the story in ways that I honestly didn't think of when I first outlined Instinct. I never realized how little this character was in my original draft when he plays such a major role in the story. I guess I took for granted that the reader would sympathize for him, without really knowing him. These new mini-scenes will help show more of his personality and add some drama for Casey to deal with. Drama + Casey = Fun!
So what's the problem then? Arrrgghh! Well, while re-reading the text, I noticed a specific point where my character gets upset over something he walks in on (and rightfully so, given his perspective of the situation). The problem... his reason for being upset is horribly, horribly wrong. Unless I can recreate the way the weekdays fall believably in my story (not likely...), his motivation just isn't going to work here. Here's a breakdown of my lapse in mental processing:
1. Character asks girl out for the weekend and she tells him that she's going home to visit family.
2. He's sad, but accepts it, he did wait until the last minute to ask her (It was Thursday afternoon).
3. The next Friday (not the next day, the next week) he sees her out with another man.
The problem? His reason for being hurt and mad is that she lied to him... basically in my head the days of that particular week went something like this: Thursday (ask out) > Friday/Saturday (she's with family) > Sunday (she meets other guy) > Friday (he sees her on a date with new guy). There are no other days between Sunday and Friday. It just doesn't make sense for him to be upset for the reasons I thought he was here.
So, now I have to find a better motivation for him to be upset about when he sees them out together. Maybe I can have him ask her out again for Friday sometime during that week and she tell him that she can't. Him asking her out for that night would work with their backstory, but she wouldn't not tell him why she couldn't and she wouldn't lie to him either, I think... I guess I could work that into the story, her lying about her real plans... Then he catches her in the lie and... well, the rest of the scene happens!
... Brain processing this new info...
*DING* (That's the sound of the buzzer in my head going off, saying this new idea is ready!)
OMG, I think I've got it! Yes, him asking her out again is DEFINITELY the way to go!
Thanks for listening to me working through this problem. For some reason working it out in my head wasn't cutting it, but blogging about it did the trick! I haven't figured out all of the specifics for this change, but I'm liking where they're headed. Fixing his motivation in this one scenario has even caused a domino effect to go off in my head and now I know his motivation (as well as a few other characters' motivations) in later scenes.
Well, I need to start sketching out these new scenes and motivations so I can add them in as notes in my main story file. This makes so much sense now! Maybe I was misinterpreting the scenes all along... it wouldn't be the first time... But anyway, Instinct calls!
So, until I blog again...
Talk 2ya later...
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4 weeks ago