Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Fork in the Road

Sorry about the blog silence Monday. Time seems to be getting away from me lately.

Last Friday I wrote a scene that introduced a new character. It was a good scene, full of tension and suspense. I loved it at the time.

But then I realized that this character will change the course of the story and now I'm not sure I want him to do that.

I'm going to have to give him the ax. It's a shame, but he just doesn't fit with my vision for the book. Now I just have to build up the courage to cut and try again.

Do you ever get to a place in your manuscript when you have to make a decision that could drastically change the rest of the story? What do you do?

17 comments:

Elana Johnson said...

Uh, yes. I've cut 25,000 words from a book, and started over completely from the spot where I felt like the book got completely off-track. It's hard, but it has to be done.

Good luck with your draft!

Jenna Blake Morris said...

That's tough. Maybe he could be in a different project someday?

The most recent problem I've had like that is deciding between characters. I know one of them has to die, and I know which one -- but I still don't want to do it.

Good luck figuring it all out!

Janet Johnson said...

Cutting IS hard! I'm working through some cuts I don't want to do, but aaack, I need to. :(

ladonna watkins said...

It isn't easy getting rid of a scene. But if you have to get rid of it then do it.
All the best with your work.

Alison Morris (aka miss ali) said...

Yes it such a hard thing to do! There is always a bit of pain that comes from realising that way back in the beginning a scene or character no longer helps move the story forward, such misery...
Good luck with it, and I like Jenna's comment about keeping them for another project. I like to keep characters and ideas around in a file, you never know when you might realise how perfect they are for another story :)

Adam Heine said...

Depending on the severity of the change, I might:

1) Follow it and see where it goes.

2) Brainstorm/outline both paths to their end and see which I like better.

3) Continue the way I had planned, but leave a note where the fork would've occurred so I can think about it during revisions.

4) Axe it, like you did :-)

Keisha Martin said...

I rewrote my entire manuscript, now that was super hard but my main character was so weak, because I was protecting her, I needed her to take risk, yet still be somewhat vulnerable and relatable to potential target auddience.

Natalie you'll figure it out and it'll work out and always remember you are never alone. =o)

Bethany K. Mattingly said...

I definitely do this. I have to stop and really look at the situation. I'm a pantser by nature so if I like where I could end up with the slight deviation in plan, then I'll take it. It's hard to make that choice though when it might mess up part of the little I had planned.

Wen Baragrey said...

Oh, my goodness, yes :D I usually save the manuscript as it is, mark the spot where it all goes pear-shaped, carry on writing and see if what comes is better than what I intended. That's what's happened with my current rewrite :) It's turned out that the new tangent is better than what I'd planned, so I'm going for it, for now. But I know where to go back to if it turns out I'm wrong!

Em-Musing said...

I've taken out whole chapters because they just weren't adding anything to the story. They were good and funny; they just didn't work. A writer friend suggested that I keep these "edited out" chapters for the day I'll be published, have a website, and can offer them to my readers.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Yes, and even though you COULD write it both ways to explore its possibilities...once it's in your mind one way, it's hard to get out. I tried to change the course of a story, but I keep going back to the original. Good luck!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm there right now. Not liking it, but it needs to be done. I'll bite the bullet and trudge through. :-)

paulsifer42 said...

"Kill your babies." To be honest, I seldom have a 'vision' for my stories. I have characters and environments and they tell me what happens. If I want a point made, I just make sure I have a character to will make that point no matter what other characters come in.

Lenasledgeblog.com said...

Yes, I have had to kill a few characters. Well, I don't call it kill, I call it relocating. I have a file for characters I delete. I tell myself it's a resort for them and they'll be happy there instead of in my script. lol. But it's easy to get attached and then delete and I just can't. So they are all one big happy family at the Sledge resort.

Nice blog. Glad to have found it. I'm a new follower. Hope to stay connected.

Paul Greci said...

When I come to a fork in a manuscript I sometimes spend time, sometimes a few days, thinking thru both options and then eventually pick one. I think "thinking time" is time well spent. :-)

DL Hammons said...

I'm a plotter, so that rarely happens to me. But I have had a character try to hijack some scenes and needed to give him a timeout! :)

Trisha Leaver said...

Save that character. You will find the perfect WIP for him eventually. It may be three or four manuscripts down the road, but he/she will find a home.