Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pantsers Part 2

I posted last week about the cast size problems I've had by not controlling my characters, letting them do as they please while wandering along the story arc.

Of course, the new characters feel that they are as important as the ones I started with, the ones who brought them to life. They bring their own story arcs, with which they are enamoured. To tell the truth, sometimes I'm equally enamoured of them. But the main story doesn't take this interference lightly. Or positively.

I'm still learning the discipline to either cut these extraneous arcs out, or change the main arc to embrace them. A bigger issue for me in recognizing these side arcs as what they are: superfluous. It's one of the things my beta readers do that really helps-even if I would rather they thought everything worked just fine! It's better that they be honest, after all.

Only peripherally related: does anyone else have difficulty rewriting scenes? Once I've written something, I better back it up! For the life of me, I can't create it for a second time. It's like the muse says 'I gave you the clue once, it's your job to keep track of it. Don't bother me!'

Comments welcome below.


  1. If you have characters with really deep stories arcs - but that aren't necessarily part of the main story arc - why not include some bonus shorts detailing something highlighted in the main arc. Something like:

    "Moby's sister was the reason he'd gotten into this business." And then a short released separately, or included as bonus material at the end, of how Moby's sister got him involved.

    1. That's an idea I've played with, JE. It's nice to have some validation for it. The difficulty I've had is giving those arcs enough meat to actually make a complete story of. Most times, they seem more like deleted scenes, adding to what I kept, but not really sufficient to make their own whole.
      But it's on my mind.
      Thanks for commenting. How are you and Louise getting along?

    2. She's politely coughing over my shoulder for me to finish her story while I ignore her and gallivant all about town :P

      If you're having trouble making them full stories, just list them as deleted scenes, for the person who likes to dig :)

    3. Of course. Louise would be nothing if not polite!

      I'm thinking about it again, now.