Friday, June 25, 2010

Powering Through - or not

I realized yesterday that powering through the book - writing, writing, writing-when I sense there is a problem is not the best use of my writing time. I don't know why it took me so long to realize this. Three days of conversation that went nowhere. Of Damian and Jane going through the motions - dinner, painting a room, a dance...

Denial? Maybe I didn't want to acknowledge that I had  issues because then I would have to stop and all those lovely pages I envisioned writing this week would come to a halt?

The problem is in Damian's motivation. I had a couple of scenes that propelled me into the second half the book but then the energy and conflict seemed to seep right out of the story, Why would he chase after her when he knows he can't give her what she wants? And why would she let him back into her life after he lied to her? These are great questions. Problem is. Don't have the answers.

So I'm doing a list of twenty to see if I can strike gold. I've been taking a course on "Asking the Right Questions" from Susan Meier. Love her online courses. She's the one who really got me into the whole-Action-Reaction-Decision technique for plotting. As I've mentioned before I'm sadly lacking in showing the reaction of my characters - it's like they don't think they just do.

What do you do when you're stuck for character motivation? When really, there's no reason for the hero and heroine not to walk into the sunset together?And you're only a little over the half way point of the book? Power on and hope lightening strikes? Or back it up and think it through?

7 comments:

Janet said...

Option C - throw it out the window and brood!

I've been there, Anne - best thing for me is to keep going. Somewhere in those pages and pages of dialogue, dancing, dining will be the key to motivation and the true conflict that will need to be resolved (both external and internal). As a pantser, it's the only way.

OK - not the only way. I've also written the black moment and resolution when I'm stuck. Sometimes within those scenes the flicker of an idea smacks me upside the head.

Other option - wow, I had lots other than C - is to have your characters write you a letter. Candid and frank - see what they have to say.

Good luck - and don't think of those pages as wasted. All add to that magic 10,000 hours everyone's talking about these days.

Anne MacFarlane said...

LOL Janet, I felt like throwing this out the window and starting over with a new one. That's when I knew I had to dig deeper.

I have written down the heroine's thoughts - in first person. So, I guess it's like a letter.

I've also heard from the hero and he just isn't making sense.

Janet said...

Yep, just like a man!!

Cat Schield said...

I usually go back to the beginning when I'm stuck. Not the beginning of the book, but the beginning of development. GMC. What's the hero's goal? What's his motivation for the goal and the conflict. If the H/H aren't in opposition to each other, your book stalls. I have a harder time keeping them apart then having them end up together because I know they will.

If your hero wants "A" your heroine should be opposed to it. If your heroine wants "B", your hero is going to do everything in his power to keep her from it.

If he likes to sky dive, she's pathologically afraid of heights. If she wants family, he grew up an only child. If she stays at home, he goes out.

Oh, and BTW, why should your hero chase her when he knows he can't give her what she wants? This is a Desire you're writing. He's chasing after her because what he has to give her IS what is best for her, ya know?

Why does she let him back into her life after he lied to her? Because he walks back in and won't go away no matter how much she demands that he does.

Anne MacFarlane said...

He's chasing after her because what he has to give her IS what is best for her, ya know?

You're absolutely right. I was changing him into one of those wimpy beta heroes!

Rachael Johns said...

LOL on only just realising Anne! I've known this a while but sometimes I try to convince myself I'm wrong as halting seems unproductive but in the long run I've foudn it's better. I'm like Cat, I find going right back to the beginning and rereading, reminding myself of what the story is about and what the conflicts actually are, usually helps a LOT!

Anne MacFarlane said...

I try to convince myself I'm wrong as halting seems unproductive but in the long run I've found it's better.

Exactly Rachael.I'm reviewing and rethinking his motivation to strengthen it or maybe even change it. Oh Oh. I feel rewrites coming on.