Writing Update: Balancing Character Development and the Passage of Time

10 Jan

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I did a writing update. As part of my goal to finish this book this year and be happy with it, I mentioned that I would keep updating here in order to remain accountable for my progress. So here goes.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been pretty good about writing every day, even if it’s just a few words here and there. Last week I made a huge effort to get Chapter 8 finished, and I did finish it. But I wasn’t happy with it. So I opened a new document and started typing, and I’m happier with the result–but now I’m not sure how to incorporate it!

One of the issues I’ve been struggling with is how to balance character development with the passage of time. To give some context, Main Character is being taken from Point A to Point B by some people she does not like under some unfortunate circumstances. It’s quite a lengthy journey, but of course the journey itself is not the main point of the plot. I need MC to get to Point B, but it really needs to be done in as few pages as possible to make room for some of the more important stuff.

That said, her interactions with Characters B and C on the journey are much more critical now than they were in previous drafts. She needs to get from “I Hate These People” to “I Am Going To Do This Thing That Is Drastic For My Character In Order To Save These People’s Lives.”

I wrote that drastic thing as an experiment to see if I liked the plot going in a different direction, and I love it. The problem is getting there!

In trying to find a balance, I’ve written almost a general overview of what happens during a day on the road, interspersed with specific anecdotes that I hope do something toward developing my characters and their relationships. Example: “Every day XYZ happens. This one time during XYZ, ABC happened which made me feel DEF about Character B.” Only, you know, obviously it’s all tied up in pretty sentences and witty dialogue. 😉

Part of me wonders if I should just finish this “bridge” to that experiment that I’ve already written and stop worrying about whether or not there’s enough development and come back to it later–but the other part of me says I did want to be happy with it, and I should work on it until it’s up to snuff! Trying to toss aside that NaNo mindset, I guess.

As a side note, I very happily rediscovered some old, discarded scenes from YEARS ago that I plan on using now (or at least, plan on using the ideas if not the actual writing!). You’ve probably heard it a million times, but don’t ever throw anything out. You never know when it might be useful later.

So. Anyone else have projects that they’re working on or issues that they’re struggling with? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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