Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Adding a layer

I've just had one of those moments where I realise that the story isn't going to go the way I thought it would.

This is a remarkable moment, and one which I'm commemorating with a blog post, since I never thought it would happen to me.  Not that it's particularly inspiring that it has happened, since it means a whole lot more thinking and a greater challenge than I had anticipated. For something that already felt like climbing a huge mountain, making it harder isn't something I was after.

It's not one of those moments where a character does something that I didn't expect him/her to do, partly because I haven't actually written enough sequential scenes for the story to be moving along like that. I am planning in great detail, because I am that sort of person. Not for me the sensation of being swept away on a story-wave and seeing which beach I get washed up on - no, I am still holding fast to my protractor theory, and I have just realised that there are several more degrees than I first thought.

Lucky for me that my story-plan protractor needn't have 180 degrees, or even 270 or 360. It can have 192, if I want. Or 214. I call the shots. So there.

I realised I'd left a whole dangling area of the story; something happens to the protagonist, Julia, early in the novel that I hadn't addressed sufficiently in the later parts of the story. I'd left it alone as it's tricky to handle and somewhat controversial, and I suspect if I'm honest I was more inclined to leave it out than commit myself to managing the consequences of her actions. More comfortable, less trouble that way. I imagine Julia would agree with me; but it's not to be. I realise that without tackling it, the story is more lightweight than I want it to be. Less realistic. Also, writing in the event, but not providing something to counterbalance it feels wrong. As well as feeling like a cop-out, it feels as if the story doesn't sit as it should.

So, back to the drawing board - or at least that part of it. Several new scenes need to be inserted. I need to work out how some of my characters might respond to this new twist in the plot. I'm sure there'll be repercussions.

Things suddenly got exponentially more complex, on several levels. Complicated simply because the plot is slightly less straightforward, now, and one of my characters is going to get a huge shock, and he is already, by his very nature, unpredictable. What will he do?  (Seriously, what will he do? I don't know, yet! ) Also, the story now has another layer. It's a bit like an angel cake; I've just slapped another one on top and I've got to make sure that they all fit together without squishing out all the buttercream.

Can I do it?

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