Saturday, July 4, 2009

Totalitarian Characterocracy.

Today, I made an interesting observation (for the writerly among you, anyway...the rest of you will probably see it as a total snorefest, so I won't blame you for skipping to the next blog entry, which is about Jeff Goldblum) about my writing.

As I've mentioned previously, I failed at my attempt to write The Best Man without an outline. I bit the bullet, outlined it, and continued on. Well, then I hit a snag, something that's been aggravating me for a couple days, and today I finally worked it out.

The problem?

My two main characters were supposed to fight (verbally). Fight, then make up, then onto some crazy twisty ending stuff.

But they wouldn't fight. They just...wouldn't. The best I could get was a raised voice here and there, but beyond that, it barely qualified as an argument. Try as I might, I couldn't get them to clash.

A lot builds up to and hinges on this particular argument, but they weren't having it. In order for the story to proceed as I planned, it had to happen.

In another lifetime, I would have, come hell or high water, shoehorned that scene in there, because it had to happen to make the story happen. But not anymore. I modified the outline. Deleted 2,500 words that are now irrelevant. And what do you know? Now the story is flowing much, much better.

Earlier today, another scene was rendered irrelevant because a secondary character decided to reveal a few previously unknown details about himself. Because of those details, the now-obsolete scene no longer made sense. *cringe* *snip* 1,500 words gone.

4,000 words cut before the first draft is even done. And there were some darlings in me, this hurt.'s the best thing for the story.

The bottom line?

Outline or no, this is a characterocracy. A totalitarian characterocracy. I can outline all I want, but if the characters and outline disagree...the characters win.

And the characters did win. And now they owe me BIG TIME...


  1. Characterocracah FTW!

    You don't argue with Liam.

    Neither, so it seems, does Jon... ;)

  2. Yup, the characters are king. Or kings. Or queen. Or queens. Or kings and que-,
    I'll stop.

    *Menny hugs*