Thursday, March 10, 2011

When Characters Help Drive the Plot

I'm kind of a free-form writer. When I start a story, I know how it begins and ends, at least in a general sense. But I make up the middle as I go along. This approach does have its down sides. I rarely know how long a story is going to be until it's done. Which is why The Case of the Lost Werewolf Puppy is ending up much longer  than I'd originally planned.

It works for me, although the approach does lead to the occasional writer's block. Like I ran into earlier this week.

I'd written myself into a bit of a corner and decided to leave it until another writing session. I needed a bridge between the scene I'd been working on and a later scene I'd written about a week earlier. Dafydd had pointed out that everyone had research to do for tracking down the bad guy in the book. Except for him.

When I started my next writing session, I read back over a couple of pages and stopped at Dafydd's observation. I had no idea where to go.

And then Paul asked Dafydd to go with him to the vampire bar to help him interview some vampires. I hadn't seen that coming, and, typical of characters, he didn't give me anything else to work with. It was like he threw out that offer and then he and Dafydd sat back to watch where I'd go with it.

I wrote a few lines of dialogue, to kill time and give myself a minute to think. And then it came to me. Paul wanted Dafydd to read the auras of some of the vampires. The aura reading probably won't have much to do with the rest of this story, but it's setting up some of the plot lines for the next story.

Just goes to show that a writer has to trust her characters. Sometimes they really do know more than the writer.

By the way, the aura reading thing is a good lead in for next week's post where I'm going to talk about how I've set up the magic in my world. Tune in for that!

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