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Friday, 28 May 2010

Character Says No

One of the most debilitating things I know about writing is when my character refuses to cooperate.

It happens to everyone. For me, it’s the literary equivalent of double-clicking a mouse on an icon and getting an error message. I know where she’s supposed to be going and I know how she’s meant to get there but somehow… well, character says no.

What to do?

My current WIP has involved a certain amount of force-feeding as far as characterisation goes. In a bid to complete my first draft as swiftly as possible (and with the advice of some Twitter friends) I’ve pushed through the inconsistencies I’ve discovered and made a note to correct them in the second draft. At times Danni sounds like two different people – the one trying to live up to the ideal I had of her when I first set out and the one who’s steadily evolving with each chapter. I’m just trying to go with the flow right now but that doesn’t mean I don’t sit there glaring at my open document cursing Danielle fiercely.

I want to finish my first draft! I’ve got a plan, loose but a plan nonetheless, self-imposed deadlines and a stubborn streak the size of the A1, but despite all of that I’m struggling. Deviation from my plan means disaster. I’d much rather bury my head in the sand and not write this at all than ditch the outline that’s keeping me focused.

Guess what? Character says no to that too.

Danni wants me to write her story. In fact, she wants it so much that she hasn’t left me alone for well over a month now. Giving up may be an enticing thought but she won’t let me do it. So I’m faced with two options: ignore the error message and try sticking to my plan or… well, wing it. Letting go feels dangerous; I get the distinct feeling I’ll be swept out to sea at any minute.

But I want to finish this first draft. And I will finish this first draft.

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