1. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    I've hit a defininte wall.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fivvle, Nov 14, 2012.

    My story is going nowhere.
    It seems like there is just too much going on inside my head. I write something and see that the story could go in so many directions that it's almost overwhelming. Each time I write something, I find myself adding another element to the story, and I'm afraid I'm making it all too complex.
    At most, I would say that there are 4 main characters, but there is a gigantic backdrop of people that live in the same town.
    So... I feel like I have too much to work with. I don't want readers to become confused. I don't want myself to be confused. Any advice?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I definitely have had this problem! I was a huge Twin Peaks fan - so my first novel was massive - a whole town, 365 name
    drops - like eight main characters. Hugely complicated.

    First off I'd focus on the main characters and their goals, no side or town character should appear unless it's
    relevant or affects one of your main characters in some way. A town has a lot of people up to who knows what
    but it only affects others when they know about it - or whether they care to know about it. It's like a fight in
    a restuarant - you can either observe it without much interest or it becomes a metaphor to what's going wrong
    with you're own relationship.

    Four characters is a lot to deal with - it doesn't sound like a lot - but it's four goals, if they're in relationships
    that expands it to eight characters. If you don't want to cut down on the main characters maybe
    cut down on the goings on, or keep a few goals relatively easy.
     
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  3. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    I agree with Peach. I have four main characters, and a couple drop out and are replaced with two more mains, but in the towns they come from, its not necessary to develop every single character. You might have a baker who only influences the story by baking bread for one of the main characters. Thereby its not necessary to develop him. His role is a small one. Its just like bit parts in a movie. Each character has a part to play, but as in movies, they don't necessarily need names, or development, or even try to keep track of them. They do their part and are filed away. You might see them from time to time, but unless they add to the story, or drive it in some way, you might just be adding fluff.
     
  4. Yunirone
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    Yunirone New Member

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    If you keep adding to it and it seems to be going in a direction you didn't want it to, save what you had originally and then copy and paste it all into another file and just go crazy. Maybe it will go out of control, but maybe from what you have written you can being to peel away what you feel is something worth while. If it doesn't work, then at least you got it out of your system and then you will know how to keep your old story moving having gotten the bug out of your system. If a short story is turning into a novel, then let it grow. Don't fear what you write.
     
  5. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    Just remember the incidental characters are exactly that incidental. It is the main protagonists and antagonist the reader is interested in and how they interact with the world around them and how they achieve their goals.
     
  6. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I definitiley don't focus on any of the background characters, but I keep feeling like I have to drop names - to give it a small-town feel or something? I avoid naming anyone unimportant whenever I can... but I feel like I've picked up a bad habit from reading too much Robert Jordan, haha.
    Nah, I wouldn't say it's that bad. I'm on the ninth book of his series and I probably only know who seven of the characters are, at most.

    I suppose I drew too much attention to the large backdrop of largely unimportant characters. A bigger concern for me is the directions the story keeps taking. I write so many different directions, almost never feeling like any of them are the ones I want.
    I think my characters need more clearly defined goals. That could definitely be one reason I feel like I'm on a treadmill; running but going nowhere.
     

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