A Writer's Journey

June 10, 2013

When Characters Misbehave

Filed under: journey,The Conference House,Write 53k,writing — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

As I said last week, I’m using Write 53k to finish up the first draft of “The Conference House” at last. It’s really helping.

Until last week. No, the word counts didn’t suffer. But I’ve been having some trouble with one of my characters. Let me explain.

I have never intended “The Conference House” to be strictly a romance. No, I wanted it to be primarily a historical fiction with a romantic subplot. Part of that subplot included a triangle. My main character, Annemie, had feelings for two young men: Nicholas, a British soldier, and Miles, a young stable worker with strong Whig (Patriot) sympathies. Does it represent a choice Annemie may have to make: stand firm in her Tory ways or change? Yes. Is it a bit cliché? Yes. But I guess I rationalized it because it wasn’t the main thrust of the story.

Anyway, I was writing a scene after Annemie had been recruited to make sure Miles didn’t stir up any trouble with the British and Hessian soldiers camping around them. She invites Miles to walk with her on the beach and she mentions Nicholas. Miles grows cold and explodes at Annemie. To the point he even grabs her as she pleads with him to let her go. Nicholas eventually comes to her rescue.

Once I recorded my daily word count, I sat back and considered the scene. I wondered how Miles could come back from this. So I flirted with deleting the passage. But Miles wouldn’t let me. Once again, I found myself fighting a fictional character who only exists in my head. Not the first time it happened and certainly won’t be the last.

So, I’ve kept it in. But now I have to figure things out. I figure I want them to reconcile—to a degree. And it has to be slow. I don’t want Annemie to be someone who returns to someone who was violent toward her immediately. So I want Miles to have to prove he’s sorry but for her to be reluctant to accept it. It’ll give me a chance to write more scenes between Annemie and Nicholas.

Good thing I’m doing Write 53k. I have the summer to work it out.

Speaking of Write 53k, here are last week’s totals:

For Week 3: 1920 words

Total: 5893 words written this summer

How are you doing?

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1 Comment »

  1. I find myself doing this fairly often. When something raises questions I tend to use the chopping block as a last resort. I have a scene written in my draft regarding taking some pills and it hasn’t been touched upon yet. I still don’t know why the characters take the pills. No idea what they’re for. But they’re for something. In this case I found myself shouting “Why?!” at the characters for once, more than them shouting at me. Nice change.

    Comment by aqualaney — June 10, 2013 @ 9:43 am | Reply


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