Monday, 8 July 2013

Slow Personality Changes in Characters



Hey all,
              
So this post is going to be really different from the last thing I put up. This will be all about having to deal with slow changes to your/my characters and why it’s driving you/me crazy (rather than random stuff I’ve been doing). There’s going to be a bit more emphasis on the me half of you/me, as it is me who is writing, but you can pretend it’s about you, if you like.

To start, I’ve hit a part of my book where there’s a pretty solid change to one of the main character’s ideals and personality. This is not due to the general evolution that happens throughout the course of the book. I’m talking, rather, about specific manipulation by other characters over the course of a semi-lengthy subplot (probably about a quarter of the book’s overall length).

Anyways, I’m hitting somewhat of a wall with this part of the book. I’m still moving forward though, so a wall might not be exactly the right object. A tar pit would probably be more accurate. I’ve fallen in, and really do need to make it to the other side, but it seems to be taking ten thousand years to do so.

One of the biggest issues that I’m facing, and I really do hate to admit it, is that I’m worried about messing it all up. If I speed up or slow down the process by too much, it’ll skew the timeline later on. I don’t want to get to the point where it’s supposed to be done, and find that I’m not nearly done, or just the opposite. If that happens I’ll need to go back and rework a whole lot of text, otherwise it’ll be obvious that something has sped up or slowed down near the end of the sub-plot.

I’m also having the problem of not making it too obvious to the other characters that something is going on. Some of them might catch on, but for the most part, things need to happen gradually until there’s a big *snap* moment, and everything falls apart. It’s strange, from my perspective, because I need to put in just the right amount of cranky/angry/weird, without it coming across as being too intense (or worse, annoying). I also can’t have the bad person be revealed to the other characters (or the reader) until later on. People can have their suspicions, but if I push it too far then it gets boring (for the reader) or unbelievable (if the characters figure it out but ignore it). I’m not quite sure what to do with this aspect yet, I have some ideas, but they’re pretty basic as of this moment.

I’m sure that eventually I’ll be able to just get into the wing of things once I’ve picked up on the new pacing, but for the moment, it’s giving me a hell of a writing workout. Had I known that it would be this much trouble when I came up with the idea, I might have avoided it altogether. Although, it probably is a good idea to learn how to deal with this sort of scenario, just in case I want to use something similar in a book a few years down the line. It’s good (I hope) to keep on challenging myself with trickier plot bits—it might just mean that I’m growing as a writer.

-Trevor

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