Monday, November 16, 2015

When Things Take a Left Turn

November brings lots of events with it, family members with birthdays, the increased ramp up of crafting Christmas presents due this year, Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo. This year also brought an unexpected sad humanity-made detour with the destruction in Paris. I ended up with another detour of a different sort absorbing my time for a few days as well.

I'm used to my characters changing the a story's direction from time to time as the project progresses. NaNoWriMo tends to be the worst for that as I'm a pants-er. This year is no different. I was happily going along and then out of the blue comes a left turn in the story line which affects the ENTIRE story.

That has only happened once before to me. I took the annual GRRWG WinterNaNo challenge and was was supposed to be a cozy mystery turned into an erotic romance with multiple partners. That one was a real surprise. I don't have the vocabulary to write such a book as I tend more towards cozies, thrillers and SciFi when I'm not reading technical manuals.

This particular turn is impacting the entire story and has made it so that I have to change the entire ending. The protagonist has changed mid-stream and I thought I had it straightened out until I sat down to write tonight. Another left turn, followed quickly by a right turn. A brand-new twist that once again changes the outcome and thus the ending of the book. I'm scrambling to get my characters to tell me how the end needs to change and they're refusing to tell me.

I've whine at them, cajoled them, and outright raged at them as I'm trying to make up lost time to get my word count where it “should” be for NaNoWriMo. They're not giving it up. I guess this is my own fault. I'm a proud “pants-er”, I've always been terrible about outlining, even back in grade school. I much preferred math and science over English. So it's no surprise my characters are wishing to torture me.

My question is, do “planners” ever have this happen to them? Do your stories ever take a left turn on you and change the entire plot? Full disclosure: I don't plot either.

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