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  1. #11
    Roy Johnson

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    I spend a few quiet minutes with the characters before going to work each day. I listen. I have found that somehow they have more to say than I do when I turn things over to them.

  2. #12
    sheena bandy

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    well, that's how it is isn't it?
    the characters are really a part of you or someone you know. It may sound weird, but I sit in my room and talk with my subconcious. just choke down some advil and the conversation will go a long way, hehe. my characters are in my dreams, day and night, and i see myself to always be less than the puppet master in my books.

  3. #13
    Abie Jones

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    I think all writers are a bit Schizophrenic!! Have you ever dreamed about your characters? That's a tad creepy. I do believe in letting them take the reigns, as long as you keep them on the road.

  4. #14
    Roger Duval

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    Now Abie, I may be schizophrenic, but I am not! ;-) ;-)

  5. #15
    sheena bandy

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    the voice inside my head says i dont have to reply to that, abie.

  6. #16
    Brian Kure

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    Well, it's comforting to know that we're ALL a little schizophrenic, that our characters sometimes wake us up at night, and that with a little Advil (In my case, Extra Strength Excedrin) we can have converstaions with our subconcious -- and sometimes we'll listen, letting our own creations finish the story. -bk

  7. #17
    Chris Cox

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    I write a very vague outline with various checkpoints that the characters must get to, however they always dictate the journey between them. They never change the story, but they always make it much more interesting than my original idea. As the author, I need to take control, otherwise the story changes with every different mood that I'm in whenever I sit at the keyboard. This can be good, but also can be bad; ie the story changes too radically and ends up going nowhere very interesting.
    I love setting up a scene, like a confrontation or a problem, and then sitting back and seeing how the characters will deal with it.
    I sometimes introduce characters simply to get the reader to love them, then I will kill them, just to get the reader hating the bad guy even more. Born to be killed, lol. What a life!
    Seriously, I love writing and then reading what I have written. I always forget about lots of scenes, and then I get kinda proud when I read it back to myself. Good topic, by the way!

  8. #18
    Wendy Lorraine Squires

    Re: Characters Tell the Ending?

    It's nice to know that I'm not alone. I am an unpublished writer and have edited my MS to death.... and only then to have the main character change the ending. It's not so much a matter of Advil {buy the generic 500 count for a buck} or interrupted dreams that had me worried, but that I was the only one.

  9. #19
    Mark Blanchard

    A vote for structure

    Well, I'm going to chime in on the other side of the fence on this one, but in so doing I recognize that I'm probably in the minority and I admit there are no rules that govern how a writer must write.

    That being said, let me confess that my fiction is just as formally plotted out as any five part essay you ever wrote for a lit class. I know the beginning, middle and end before I start the first draft and I even go so far as to plot 95% of the chapters out on a spreadsheet with headings that summarize what has to happen, to whom and why.

    Does this sound weird? Most of my writer friends think so. I can't help it. My endings are more rigidly plotted than the beginnings and as Hal suggested we do in another post, I often work BACKWARDS. Although not straight backwards, since I know what goes where and why, I skip around, doing chapter 17 one day and chapter 4 the next. I jumpt to whatever section interests me the most at the time. Because I can skip around, I rarely get stuck and am able to maintain a rigid schedule without hating the work.

    As you can imagine, with such a rigid structure, my characters rarely ever change the ending of the story, although they often say things I didn't expect and get fleshed out in ways I hadn't planned.

    To go further still, I try to pace my individual chapters. I set out from the beginnning to tell 30-35 mini stories of about 15 pages each told in 19th century capitulary form. I don't beat myself up if a mini-story runs 10 or 20 pages, but each has to have its own little mini-climax and contribute to the forward movement of the book or I give it thirty lashes.

    So in my brain at least, composing book length fiction is more like a Hadyn symphony (with four movements, theme and variation) than it is a Charlie Parker riff and while I admire both forms, I have absolutely no idea how Bird did what he did.

    Why else do I write backwards in a lockstep? Well, mostly because I'm writing espionage thrillers and in that genre you simply MUST provide schools of red herrings and tapestries of plot twists in order to confuse, excite, and intrigue the reader. The only way I know to tie up all those loose ends before the final chapter is start with them tied up and work them loose with increasing complexity towards the beginning.

    Anyway, that's how I do it. I'd sure like to hear how Hal, Victoria and Ann do it. Perhaps they'll share and we'll learn something.


  10. #20

    Re: A vote for structure

    gosh! mark, you have a great idea!!!!!! i'm gonna replot everything in my story so that i wont get stuck. ^_^
    you are a real imspiration.

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