1. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Force it or let it?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JetBlackGT, Jan 13, 2015.

    I have a book from which I have "taken a break". (In the meantime I wrote another.)

    My outline has the story going in one direction but the story itself seems to want to go in a noticeably different direction, near the end. It will be a wildly different story but will still end the same way.

    [sigh] is it more important to stick to my established story-plan or to let the story flow? I have always let my stories have a bit of rein because the characters help me to figure out solutions I seriously feel I would never have thought of myself! Which, yes, makes me feel crazy... well... more crazy. The fact that I think I might be crazy means I'm not; right? [eye-twitch]

    I wonder how much my mind is influenced by a lifetime of reading and movies... Am I following the natural route of what will amount to a soulless cookie-cutter story, subconsciously? I don't know!

    What would you do, if your story seemed to be pushing itself in a different direction? It's a little worrying!
     
  2. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use a outline as a set of notes that I am thinking about at the time. it changes as my ideas change.
     
  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Honestly, you're one of the many many writers who finds out their stories shift as they write.
    It's completely natural as writing forces you to actively imagine what is happening which means your brain will make logical conclusions to what is happening meaning that it will create answers and produce problems that are obvious or pertinent because it's trying to create something real as you are experiencing the story.

    Make sense?

    So, it's normal that your outline isn't 100% perfect or identical than the final product.
    If you were writing a comedy that turns to a slasher and all of a sudden the queen is over for tea well.. that's a problem.
    If it's just characters changing and evolving, antagonists and problems mutating, that's all part of the process.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree, it's wholly natural for the story to evolve on its own as you write. My fantasy is basically re-writing itself ever since I included a new character.

    Just let it evolve on its own. That said, keep an eye on it so it doesn't get too crazy.
     
  5. Lancie
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    Lancie Contributing Member

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    The times I've tried to keep to a strict plan and then spend more time wondering 'what if' have resulted in poor quality work, or in a piece I don't like.

    If my story starts going a different direction or one of my characters evolves in such a way the story changes I tend to go with it now, so I'm with you on the characters helping you sort things out!

    Can always re-write and take it back a few steps if it goes off the rails.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Depends on what you're going for. I find that my first initial outline is a bit cookie cutter - even when I try not to be. In fact by trying to be 'edgy' by saying hey, no happy ending I go the cookie cutter route of - kill the mc - which is no better than the happy ending. Could be your character's conflict needs to change and your instinct is leading you to give him/her better stakes.
     
  7. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I would definitely agree with the others here and suggest that you give the story a little free rein. You never know where you will end up, but that's definitely a risk worth taking. Be careful, though, just like with a pet you might not want to let it loose completely.
     
  8. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    "I don't suffer from my insanity -- I enjoy every minute of it." -- Sherrilyn Kenyon
     
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  9. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a good reference for your question.

    You can't know everything your story is going to be from what you noted or thought. It's not until you start writing it that it's potential becomes more apparent.
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Hey, that sounds like the sentiment of someone that is definitely not crazy.

    Take it from someone who is legitimately insane, Sherrilyn Kenyon doesn't know what the fuck she is talking about.
     
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  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I would say if your story feels like it's getting better, I'd definitely go with it. Something has occurred to you that makes the story more exciting, or darker, or more visceral or gives it a richer theme, or your characters have suddenly become unforgettable—great. If you find your story is starting to lose any sense of direction, though, I'd be cautious. If you feel you're losing your grip and you don't know what you want to do with it any more, I'd step back a bit. Stop writing it, and let it cook in your head for a while. Don't turn away any new ideas, but I'd beware of running off with them the minute they come into your head.
     
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  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Go with your gut and let the story go where it wants. In my experience when you force it, everything becomes stilted and the whole thing gets ruined. Stories are supposed to evolve - what you're doing is perfectly normal.

    You could also of course write both endings, and then see which one looks better :) I'd start with where the story is naturally evolving and write that ending first. And then you could write the ending according to your outline second.
     
  13. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    You never quite know what you'll write until you've written it. If you have two versions in mind, I'd write both and then decide. Hindsight is much clearer than foresight. You may end up with a third version altogether that includes the best aspects and parts of what you've written.
     
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  14. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    The main character is an orphan. But the story is clearly pushing itself into the direction that her mother is still alive and did *not* die in childbirth. There's nothing except the tenet that she died to say that she can't be in hiding. She was staggeringly wealthy so....

    And I've discovered that it's harder to write a story where the characters are so rich they can afford anything, than to write one where the characters have to get by with almost nothing. I don't know why! Maybe it's the "write what you know" thing :-(
     
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  15. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you have a story where a poor person needs a car to get a job but needs a job to afford a car, there is great potential to write about all the things he tries to overcome his difficulty. If a rich person needs a car, he goes to the local dealer and buys one. This would be a very dull and very short story.
     
  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Wealthy people just have different problems and a different focus on problems. Their stress isn't from how-will-we-pay-this-bill. Take Aled James Taylor's example. Their problem could be what car to buy that will get them in the least amount of trouble with their child whose an environmentalist, their wife whose dead beat brother runs a shady dealership and his associates who consider a car a status symbol.
    I actually don't mind writing about people who are well off the problems can become more complicated.
     
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  17. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think your story is getting more complicated in a very good way. How will this change the direction? Will it change the outcome?

    As for how to write a rich character who can afford anything, I imagine (key word here!) that it will be very different if the person is born into wealth and feels entitled to it and can't imagine any other kind of life—versus somebody who had to work hard to achieve wealth, or simply got lucky (like a lottery win.) Or somebody who made selfish decisions to achieve wealth ...like a woman who married a rich guy she didn't love, simply because he would offer her security and comfort.
     
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  18. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    The orphan is now part of a very large and vastly wealthy organization because of her particular and exceedingly rare abilities. Believe me, I spent a boatload of time researching her condition. Her mother had it as well (it is only a hereditary condition in the case of this single family. For everyone else, it is random) and the accompanying penchant for madness has taken its toll. Her mother is related to the entire board of directors of the company who has unwittingly recruited her.

    Her mother went into hiding to protect her from becoming swept up in the murderous world she and the girl's father lived in.

    BTW, I have discovered about a hundred ways to misspell the name Catherine. Autocorrect to the rescue but I have to update it twice a day with new screw-ups for Catherine!

    I've pretty much decided that the mom is going to be alive and help avenge her husband's death as a surprise at the end. I can't ignore the little hints that the story has kept insinuating into itself. It feels like more than my conscious mind is doing the writing. My sub-conscious keeps tugging at my sleeve and asking for attention. "Excuse me? Wouldn't it be cool if...."

    The nudges are easy to ignore... for a while.
     
  19. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    If it's evolving past what you thought it would be, that's part of the process. If it's evolving into a story that could be better served as a different, separate story, try to separate them at the point of divergence and go from there.
     
  20. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    It's just going in such a different direction. The very foundation of what the book is built upon has changed. It's like if around book five, you found out that Harry Potter's mom was still alive.

    The MC's mother's survival requires a much longer book. But hey, adding to the story worked for "Battlefield Earth"! It's just a bigger twist than I expected and it may make the final scenes far more intense. I can threaten the mother with death to add danger and tension.... her borderline insanity can make her do less predictable things so she can save herself with more desperate measures.
     
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  21. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I like where this is going. Just keep those ideas flowing!
     
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  22. TheOneKnownAsMe
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    TheOneKnownAsMe New Member

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    Poverty or the lack of money or severe debt etc. lend themselves to conflict by their very nature. When you're in that sort of situation, even the smallest trial or setback can mean disaster. When you're wealthy, those more immediate conflicts are removed. It's not to say that there aren't conflicts, but they're conflicts of a different kind. Rather than dying due to a lack of food, you may find that your character is in peril of dying due to people trying to kill him for his money.
     
  23. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    The employees all have body guards for two reasons.

    1. Kidnapping because of their specific abilities and knowledge of how to make the company's product.

    2. Protect those around them from being injured due to the psychopathy that comes along with their skills.

    :)
     

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