Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Stories have a mind of their own

I'm a combination plotter and panster. I come up with a basic plot and list of characters for my stories, but the scenes often take a different path than I envisioned when I actually write them. Character's come to life and flesh themselves out as I type. It's kind of neat to watch.

Of course, I have to be flexible. When I start writing a particular interaction, I sometimes realize a line of dialogue or character reaction is implausible and have to change course. At other times, the research alters something about the scene or a character's backstory. It's fun and interesting at times, frustrating at others.


With my historicals, a lot of research is done during the plotting stage, and more is necessary during drafting. I'm constantly fact-checking. Many times something I learn from a non-fiction source gives me the idea for an entire scene. Heck, some of my best scenes were inspired by research. But it usually doesn't change anything too significant.

This time is different.

The current novel I'm working on has been sucking in historical topics I never saw coming. I had to go back and change details so my heroine could have the proper wardrobe. What I discovered when I looked up a 19th-century church, simply to get the location and building details right, changed a character's backstory drastically and gave rise to unplanned scenes. Supporting characters who were only supposed to appear in a chapter or two are sticking around and showing back up. I'm sure the story will be better for it, but good grief! My head is swimming!

Does this ever happen to you when you write?


12 comments:

  1. I've had a couple change direction when plotting them out, but not drastically so when I began writing.
    Hey, at least your work will be accurate!

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  2. I love researching and deepening the structure of the setting and how it affects the plot! Yes, this happened to me as I wrote my Musketeer's Daughter Trilogy and sidekick book. So much fun!

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    1. It can definitely be a wild ride! Thanks for visiting.

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  3. Yes. Even though I don't write historicals.

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    1. I'm sure you do. Plausibility is especially important for the genre you write.

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  4. Man, I bet historicals require a lot more consideration to things like this. Maybe that's why I've been sticking to fantasy lately! :D

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  5. Writing speculative stuff, this doesn't happen as much, and I've found that science aspects that need research form a bedrock rather than dictating how characters act as such - but I've definitely seen characters turn out far different from how I imagined them.

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    1. Interesting and understandable about the science.

      I don't talk much to non-writers about the characters turning out differently than I planned. They might have a difficult time understanding how something a writer created from their imagination could take on a life of its own. I worry they might think I've gone bonkers. LOL

      Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Researching always throws in new ideas and changes for my writing too. But it's almost always for the better. Good luck!

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  7. Definitely. I love plotting, but most of my best ideas come when I'm writing. Like you said, I hit an implausible idea or a new idea pops into my head and everything changes. It's kind of fun sometimes. I can't wait to see where the story takes me. And if researching causes you to have more ideas, there's nothing wrong with that. It'll make your story richer.

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