I’m still trying to decide what to write next. Only just home from an evening with my mother-in-law, but I have tomorrow free to write. But which story?
Something about Luk and Gabi/ Emma’s story just keeps me stuck and confused.
I mean, two different heroines to start with! But poor Emma is just a bit too pitiful and tragic, so I’d rather write Gabi. Luk can’t decide if he’s a nice guy who just happens to be a self-made multi-millionaire, or a ruthless win at all costs Alpha. Something keeps me attached to this story, I do want to write it.
But I keep coming back to what is probably the main flaw in this story- I started off wanting to write about someone who found out she was a princess, got kidnapped, and forced into a marriage of convenience. I had no idea who the story was about, just that I wanted those things to happen. Then I created the characters to fit the plot.
I know now that is not the way to do it. Maybe the biggest lesson from my struggles with this story is the importance of having things be character driven, not plot device driven. I kidded myself I was doing that when I sat down and replanned the story in April. I started with character sheets and then wrote a synopsis of plot events. It was better than what I had before. But still not right. Because I wasn’t really starting with characters. I was starting with trying to find out more about these characters I’d come up with because I thought they would fit into the plot I’d already planned.
I’ve been thinking all along that the reason I’ve been stuck on this story and going round in circles with it is that I’m not a good enough writer yet. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe it’s that I’m coming at the story from the wrong direction. Forcing Luk and Emma or Gabi to act like puppets, not like real people. To make the story work, they have to behave out of character. They whole story hinges on Luk making a stupid mistake, doing something he just would not do, and Emma/Gabi responding in an equally stupid way. Bacuse that’s what the plot calls for, not what I know these people would do.
Of course, everyone does something out of character at times. Part of good writing is taking characters and putting them in situations where they have to choose to do something they wouldn’t normally do. I wish I could remember where I read the advice to think of five things the character would never do, then make sure they are put in situations where they have to, where doing that is the least bad of two bad choices. That’s not what I did in this story though. I needed a reason for them to be pushed into a Marriage of Convenience. so I had them act out of character. That’s not the same thing as setting up a conflict within the character where they have to chose to do things they normally never would. In this story, they didn’t really choose, I just made them do it!
So I have two options. Try one more time with this story, but make sure I’m setting up believable motivation for everything that the characters do. Or give up now, recognising I’ve learned some valuable lessons, and it’s been one helluva ride, but it’s time to stop.
No matter how hard I try, forcing characters to fit the plot will not work, plot has to flow from character.
Anyway, I need to stop over analysing everything and try just writing! Once I decide which story….