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May 16, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Writing Problems: Characters Without Plots

I briefly mentioned in my last post that I have another novel idea I’ve been working out, for a while. The first idea explosion came to me a few years ago, and it’s been building and expanding ever since. I’ve got my three main characters, I feel like I know who they are, what they are, how they’re connected, and what their issues are in this book. But I don’t know what they’re supposed to do.

I’ve got a vague idea of what I want to be building up at the beginning of the novel, but I haven’t any idea what I’m building up to. I don’t know who my bad guy is, I don’t know the threat, I don’t know the ultimate goal. It’s incredibly frustrating.

I often start stories with a shttps://i2.wp.com/openclipart.org/image/300px/svg_to_png/31309/Crow_2_.pnghadow of an idea of the end, but at least that’s there, the shadow. If there’s a blankness, it has to do with the conclusion, not the whole real plot leading up to it. If I were to start writing this now, I would only be working towards emptiness, and if I got to that emptiness before another spark filled that gap then I would be completely stuck, and I don’t want that.

What I need to do, I think: immerse myself in kid’s books, the creepy kinds (I want this to be pretty creepy) and research, something I’m really bad at. Crows feature heavily in this idea, and I need to learn more about them, what they actually are, and also, maybe, what they are in myth and fairy tale (incidentally, if anyone knows a good crow myth I will love you forever if you send it my way.) Hopefully something will take shape, big enough to fill that space.

 

When you have a new idea, do you let it stew? Or do you dive in and worry about filling in the gaps later?

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