Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Research and Development

Funny how looking through stuff I wrote almost two years ago can count as 'research'.  Not nearly as funny as some of the stuff I wrote almost two years ago and thought was good...  But I digress.

I'm still at work on the plot for the next book, as I've talked about in the past few entries.  Over this past week, a conversation with a friend sparked an idea that wouldn't leave me alone.  Said idea meant re-plotting large chunks of the story, as well as some significant character changes, because one does not simply change out the main character of a novel without consequences.

This is something I stressed over quite a bit.  Swapping the book's main character for another meant I could write some things I really, really want to write.  (Sorry for the vagueness, but there's really no way to explain it without making this entry much longer than it should be.)  I was torn between making the changes and keeping things the way I'd initially intended them.  And I worried that this would turn into yet another story that I keep trying to find, another story that goes through dozens of plotted versions without ever actually becoming a book.

After talking this over with the friend who inspired the change, she pointed out something simple.  It's one of those things that seems so obvious but is also so easy to forget when you start thinking about anything other than just telling the story.  She told me to just write what I most wanted to read, to think of everything I liked and just put it into the story, because I had to be excited about writing it.  Yeah, I know.  It seems like that should be the first thing to consider when you start writing something, but it's easy to miss.

Changing the main character brought its own issues with it, though.  This goes back to an earlier entry I wrote about gender-swapping characters, because the new main character is female while the original one was male.  I had to change quite a few things, such as living quarters, and I changed the gender of another character to balance things out.  This has the added benefit of me now getting to write a snarky Englishman loosely based on one of my favorite writers.

The change has also affected the planned romance, and I now have no idea what will happen in that area.  I figure the characters will let me know if they want to get together, and I'll just have to sit back and hope that doesn't screw up the plot.

It took me a while to chew through all of this; major changes to a plot are never easy to deal with.  But I think I have a stronger story.  I'm hoping to start it sometime soon.

And hey, now I get to write about someone beating the hell out of dragons with a hammer.  There's no way that won't be fun.

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