Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Planner's Worst Nightmare

As I told you all a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I was going to write a novel without creating a plot for it, just to see how it went.  I started that novel last week.  All I had when I started it was: A basic idea that finally spoke to me after hours of flipping through my idea book; the name of the main character; and A title for the book.

First of all, I have to say, I'm sure I've posted more blog posts than I can count about how much control my characters have over the story. (Once again, I would like to clarify that I don't, in any way, blame my characters for the product that comes out in the end, just what information they didn't give me.  I will always take responsibility for my novels, good or bad.)  When I'm pantsing, though, that control goes far beyond anything I'm comfortable with.

In the past I've had characters randomly show up, but now it's like an epidemic.  Characters are popping up all over the place in this novel.  It started with a pink haired vampire, who didn't even get named.  Moved on to a tiny black haired four year old who creeped the hell out of me.  Throw into the mix a 'trusted' friend that her mother pointed out to her that I just don't like, and we've got ourselves what feels a little like an uncontrollable crowd of characters.

None of these characters ever do what I say.  Just when I think I'm getting the hang of them, they go and do something that I would have never expected.  Including the creepy girl getting friends.  Her mother's jaw may have dropped when she hugged, but I swear my surprise was worse.  I nearly stopped typing and I was in the middle of a mongering session.

The worse part of it all is that I have no idea what's going to happen.  I'm literally taking it chapter by chapter.  I have these vague ideas of what could happen, but that certainly doesn't mean that I do everything I think of.  Hell, my character went to the park where I planned to have her attacked by...well...someone, and instead she sat down and had a discussion with her best friend's kid about making friends.  I mean, talk about not following a plot, these characters refuse to conform to any ideas I have in mind for them.

I was sure I knew the end of my story, and I really do.  Well, the basic idea of it, anyway, however I'm coming to think that the person who causes the end of the book isn't correct at all.  I was wrong on all counts.

Add to that the fact that I have a character who's supposed to be a major player in the novel barely making an appearance, and I feel like this novel is a mess.

I know what you're thinking.  That it's probably not as bad as I'm making it out to be, and to be truthful, it's probably not.  I'm just to certain things when I'm writing.  One of them is that I know my character.  They don't usually surprise me (too much) because I have a really good idea about who they are and how they would react to situations.

I also know exactly where my story ends and how my characters are going to get through it.  IN this novel I keep finding myself in situations that I didn't expect, and therefore couldn't have thought through before hand.

It's scary, and it feels wrong.  I love writing it, though.  Even with all the strange surprises, and the way the characters basically tell me how it is (and by tell me, I mean, I type the words then gape at them as I realize what my character just did.)

After all of that, though, I have to say, I don't regret this decision.  I keep looking at the book and thinking that it's not actually too bad, though why that shocks me so much is completely beyond me.  I still wonder where it's going and what the point of this novel is, but I think that's kind of fun.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want to give up on my planning.  I actually really enjoy the work I put into a novel before I start writing it, but this series (if this first book turns out to be good enough for me to even consider continuing it) will always be written without a plot.  I don't think I could force these characters into a plot now if I tried.

Now let's see if I can continue to write the novel and not get stuck at the 25k mark, as so many writers around me seem to do.  Wish me luck!

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