Well it turns out that I am a Gardener, but not one that works with seed and soil. Rather I am the type of writer that builds a loose latticework frame, plants some seed, and sees what grows into the lattice and what grows wildly out of control.
Mostly right now things tend to grow wildly out of control.
I do have to say I enjoy it however. I *just* paused writing my novel Charlotte because in my attempt to skirt writing chit chat between my heroine and some random children I put in because the halls of her tenement just seemed far too empty all the time, I ended up reintroducing one of my side characters.
Charlotte, my heroine, is smitten with this man. So far there’s not much to him beyond this roguish manner and self confidence, but I’d really rather leave him there, at that. But I need to build him up some so I can use him to tear Charlotte down again in a few more pages. I’ve just realized that he’s going to be really good with the children. They love him, and he honestly loves and cares for them. This creates a problem. The problem is that as I write about him, about how Charlotte sees him, I really start to like him. At least from her point of view.
I fear I might end up liking him too much. If that happens then I can’t use him to tear her down, or if I do I fear I won’t like it at all. Maybe that’s a good thing that I don’t like what his fate is. But if I don’t like it, will the reader?
At least I have an end goal for this character, a destiny he cannot escape without a sizable rewrite. I have another novel that is currently on hold because I don’t know how to proceed with it. In it I have a character, Eric, who’s supposed to be a real asshole. He was going to be zombie zero, and as I wrote him I didn’t want people to like him. He should die because he’s an asshole.
I did a good job with him. Too good. The asshole was interesting. Compelling even. I couldn’t kill him off anymore. His story was too good.
I need to learn to plan a little more. If I take too long to get to my destination, I will have to cut out half of everything on revision. I want my darlings to mean something so they don’t get cut.
At the same time I need to keep some of my gardening, because I love discovering how the story unfolds. It is part of the fun.
© 2015, Joseph K Little. All rights reserved.