Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Kill or not to Kill

I've been concentrating on the second draft of Deciding Lies, a contemporary drama, while I let the space opera rest. Deciding Lies is a departure from my typical stories as far as setting goes, but still revolves around a suspense plot filled with dysfunctional relationships and greed.

I thought I knew who the villain of this story was. Halfway through this draft I shifted a plot element and being an element, the shift rippled through the story. It didn't create an overwhelming wave, but it did force me to make a decision about the MC's mother. Upon reflection I made the wrong one.

I stretched the believability of the Mother's actions and roles too far.

My job today is to map out that characters motivations. I need to delve in to her backstory and decide where things lie against the plot. Do they follow a logical line or leave gaps, or worse, not make sense at all? Maybe the Mother's character should be dead before the story starts. Maybe she shouldn't die at all.

What if she's the true villain?

Developing that story angle will take some pretty fancy dance steps. It requires the MC to be a bit obtuse and wrapped up in herself. I'm not sure that's going to work any more successfully than killing Mom off because the whole plot revolves around the MC being older than her years. A little bit of an old soul, if you will. Maybe Mom should be the one out to lunch.

I've heard about writers who develop an outline and follow it. No matter what, the story follows that outline. I have no clue how they manage that. Any outline I may develop is more of an operational suggestion with plenty of room for possibilities. At some point most of it will be thrown out the window.

It's not until I'm in the final editing stage, after I've got the story nailed down, that any structured plan is followed. That often takes at least four drafts. Before that anything goes. Well, almost anything. It looks like Mom is going to have to come back from the dead. She's just got a new lease on life. Wonder what she's going to do with it?

I'll have to get back to you on that.


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