Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Almost As If They Know What They're Talking About...

So, I got another pep talk in my inbox today.  It’s from Chris Cleave.  I must confess I haven’t read any of his work but I’m thinking that if it’s anywhere near as good as his pep talk is inspirational I’m gonna have to check him out.  He reported something that all of the week three pep talks, videos, blog posts and other media seem to be reporting: the magic of week three comes when your story goes in a direction you didn’t plan.  All of them seem to be talking about the same phenomenon- the week three phenomenon.

They say that new characters you never intended to write insert themselves into your story and become indispensable.  Other characters you intended to write about till the end suddenly become less important and even expendable.  Plot twists you could never have seen coming strike out of nowhere and drastically alter the course of your story arc.  And more over, they all give the same advice about what to do when you encounter this phenomenon: just go with it.  Let your crazy characters loose.  Let that plot you had your heart set on fly out the window as this new one takes over.  Let the ending be drastically different than you envisioned.
Well, wouldn’t you know it that I seem to be experiencing my own week three phenomenon and it's so ridiculously true to what all these pep talks said would happen that I can’t help but comment about it.  A character who I had never thought of, planned for, or imagined until two days ago suddenly popped up.  And within the course of only a few hundred words she has become primary to the advancement of the remainder of my plot and the eventual resolution of my story arc.  Kinda crazy, huh?
How, you may wonder, did she become so important out of nowhere?  (And I’m going to tell you even if you weren’t wondering.)  Well, my MCs discovered that the bad guy they’re fighting is not actually a millenia old vampire but rather a magic user with seemingly demon-like properties.  (Oh- and I didn’t plan for that, either.)  Given that none of my MCs are magic users they went out and found one to help them.  Within a ridiculously short period of time it became clear that if they were ever going to figure out how to beat the bad guy, it would be because of her.  And as if all that weren’t enough, my secondary MC seems to have fallen into smitten kitten mode in all of a paragraph.
I don’t understand how all this happened but I’ve read enough week three pep talks and the like that I believe I am on exactly the right track.  So I’m doing what they said to do- I’m going with it.  And the reason why I’m going with it is because I have a word count deadline.  And if this new plot is going to make those words flow then I will go wherever it may take me.  Full speed ahead!

(32,502 words and counting.)

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