Saturday, December 8, 2012

They're Doing It Again!

This far into the adventure of fiction writing, it really shouldn’t surprise me any longer when my characters jump out of the tracks I had carved for them and start doing something completely unplanned. But it does.

Freedom’s Scion is coming along nicely, but it’s developed into a tale far distant, both in plot and themes, from what I’d originally envisioned. The principal source of deviation arises from my “antagonist” Marquee character and one Supporting Cast character. They have an essentially political conflict going on – on a planet populated entirely by anarchists, at that – and it’s risen to the forefront of the story, at least in the opening third.

Normally I wouldn’t view this as a problem, and perhaps I shouldn’t now. You have to let your characters do what they’re moved to do by their innate natures and drives. Characters who want to gain or hold power are going to pursue those ends; forcing them to slough their overriding priorities makes them unnatural and stiff. More, the themes that arise from the conflicts in progress and the way they’re likely to be resolved are good, meaty ones. The problem, if there is one, arises from the structural metaphor I’d chosen for this novel. It would have been fine for the plot I’d originally intended, but it clashes with the story that’s developed.

The source of this development appears to be an insufficient amount of time spent developing the backstory for the novel. Had I put more work into a backstory properly shaped to my original intention, and character sketches that would be compatible with my original plot, that plot and collection of associated themes might still be workable. However, it looks as if I’m going to have to put them aside and let these characters take the book where they will.

All the same, I must remember to be grateful for small blessings: fortunately, the title still works!

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