Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Runaway Plot Slides Toward Home
1) Go with it and see where it leads
2) Scrap it and send my characters back to the fork in the road
As painful as #2 is, there have definitely been times when I've had to do this. The plot twist just happened too soon, or in the wrong way. Or maybe a side character became way more important than he/she was meant to be.
But my favorite is when I've been thinking about the story and characters so hard and for so long that even my plot twists aim me back home. That detour I took? Turned out to be a shortcut. Suddenly that open-ended mystery I dropped into chapter three makes perfect sense, and it's totally by accident.
Or is it?
There's obviously something brainish(TM)* going on here. My subconscious knows, even if I am not aware, how this story is going to unfold. I may think I've plotted six points and am meandering through them on my way to a fully developed story, but my subconscious mind already put A and B together with plot point E, and did it in a way I never expected.
I love this and I hate this, but it's the way I write. Any more structured and the story starts to feel contrived. Still, the only way it works is if I THINK about my story. All the time. This annoys those around me, most especially my poor husband who has to put up with plot and character epiphanies during our favorite TV shows, while we're brushing our teeth, and even during the sacred family dinner time.
Are you working on a novel? Is it embedded deeply in your subconscious?
*When Google Chrome red-underlines a word, I assume I've made it up and add the TM for kicks and giggles.