What to do when a character runs away with your plot…HELP!

I am not happy, I may have to kill him, one of my characters. He has stolen the plot right out from under me! ARG!

You see, I had this nice little escape from a restaurant. Our gang of merry adventurers are having a fabulous little coffee after the church service where the “Council of Reconciliation” was announced.  At this point there is suppose to be a minor riot in the cafe and our band of heroes escapes though the back door in the kitchen unscathed.

I start writing the scene, the riot starts to occur and we get out the back door, and then…instead of escape from near death, we find out that the riot is not a riot, it actually is outrage at the fact that some group tried to assassinate their Abbott. The Abbott released a video that showed all of the leaders as great heroes, they weren’t in any danger. They had over re-acted to a careful plan of the Abbott and his accomplice had planed.

I like both, in the first we have the classic escape from a trap because someone has anticipated the coming issue avoiding the fight. The second has the same resolution – someone thinks ahead and finds a way to channel the anger of the crowd, the mob, to focus on the enemy that unknown enemy.  This prevents the mob from realizing that the Religious Government has just set aside all civilized behavior to find the enemy.

I don’t know what to do. The point of the scene, and remember all scenes have a point or a purpose to move the story along, is to show the following:

1) The common person is focused on the Council for reconciliation, which will allow our team to brashly search for the real terrorists. Running rough shod over civil liberties and religious freedoms.

2) A small by-play that produces a minor romantic tone

3) The flavor and character of our main players in the story.

All of these points can be accomplished in both scenes. I think the question boils down to how clever do I need to make characters? Do I need to make the Abbott clever? Is it true to his character? To resolve this I need to go back to the character sketch that I did for the Abbott as part of my outline. As well I need to review the character sketch for the our military leader who senses the riot first and sneaks us out. Does it help his development as character more…

The answer in the next episode of “ARG! The Character who stole my plot!”

Be well – dcd


It is better to be scene than herd…

DSC_1632The little of writing that I have been able to do over the last few days has evolved around scenes. Yes that is right I have been making scenes!

It is amazing to see how the story unfolds, what motivation gets generated for the plot to move forward. For a long time I knew that certain events needed to occur to get to the end of the story, but I did not see the impetus to get from one scene to another.

Remember that I am trying to write Hard Sci-Fi, or Space Opera. Something in that vain. I want it to be almost predictable or at least have the driving force of the events seem familiar, like an old friend to the reader. It is important to me that the reader is comfortable in the story; that they feel like they are “along for the ride”. I am not trying invent or expand the known features of the Sci-Fi landscape.  This is just a visit to a part of Sci-Fi that reminds us of where we have been.

Making scenes has helped me flesh out my characters in a variety ways. Here is an example; Caul Brin (not his real name) is the hereditary dictator of his system. His family has ruled for ten generations. He is therefore the 10th ruler of the people. His family’s leadership has been unbelievably successful. So much so that inbound migration is tightly controlled. Make no mistake, this is a military dictatorship they are conquerors, you don’t want to face them in battle.

Early on in my book I have a bomb go off at a dinner party. The bomb is part of the centre piece at every table. I wanted the components of the bombs to point to the three principal leaders in the universe as the culprits.

This centerpiece is beautiful. On each side is a glass etching of the person that is suppose to be sitting at the table. The colors are wonderful. The bomb goes off scattering shards of glass everywhere. The glass has poison on it. One leader years ago invented the poison, one leader years ago developed the explosive. But what does our military dictator contribute to the bomb?

He is, it turns out, the artist who etched the faces on the centerpieces! This allows me to show that he has a sensitive side and he is not the stereotypical military dictator. All in all rather convenient for me as the author. I need him to have a sensitive side so that he console the other leaders without being out of character.  This also allows him to be the ruthless military dictator and take decisive action when needed.

The other part about writing out the scenes is that it has shown me part of what I have to go back and include in earlier part of the book. For example it is important to know that Ein, another leader, appears gentile, but is viciously ruthless. At a moment’s notice he will act in violence. Understanding this has lead me to insert a section in the story where he acts cold hearted to our hero and the hero’s side kick.

The other parts about scenes is that I have discovered that there are other characters that need to fulfill roles for the story to be successful. Even if they are only used for a short period of time for a specific purpose.  Marnie Shiu will be love interest that never comes to fruition. She will also show our hero Tanner how ruthless Ein can be.

Finally scene’s have shown me that there is a lot to write before I start writing. I mentioned earlier that I like the planning phase, outlining of the story. This is continues to be true. What I am seeing is that I may have too much story. That I may need to tear whole sections out of the book. By having an outline, it will make this kind of outlining much easier.

As always I hope you are well – dcd