Sunday, December 12, 2004


I spent a good part of the day and night wrestling with one of the four protagonists in the current WIP. Not since Reever showed up have I had this much trouble with a character, particularly one who has been living in my head for the better part of two years.

As usual, I want to give the character the tools to make repairs, but this guy is not interested in an easy retrofit. He doesn't even want a moderately difficult one. Somewhere during the actual writing of the book he went beyond the fix-it stage.

Tonight we're somewhere entirely different, and there is a lot here that can't be repaired or ignored or glossed over or saved for the next book in the series. All that is something I didn't see happening back when we were in the plot-the-book stage. Now he's tossing it in my face.

Things like this are the bumps you hit as you drive down the novel road. They are not convenient, and they mess up the alignment of your plot threads, and I don't know about you but that makes me cranky. Yet no plan is perfect, and no writer should become complacent. Bumps won't let you.

Squilyp from Beyond Varallan was a bump, as was Danea from Blade Dancer. Both of them wrecked their respective outlines -- Squilyp actually changed a thread that affected the entire StarDoc series plan -- and both of them drove me nuts. They're also two of my favorite characters.

When I hit one of these bumps, I tend to go with the character rather than the plan. Yes, it's easier to force the character to stick to the plan so you don't have to make a lot of changes, but I think that's lazy writing. Something made you hit the bump and it might do the same to your reader. You owe it to them not to take the easy way around it.

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