Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Hard Stop

I had this great idea for a story. It was loosely based on a classic about three sisters (as in, same basic plot arc but with a lot of changes to specifics and situations). One of the sisters - the youngest - didn't actually have much of a story in the original. But I determined that all three ladies would get equal time in my story, so I went about arcing something interesting for her.

But then something unexpected happened. I found myself way more intrigued by the littlest sister's story than the other two sisters'. I got more excited when writing about her, and the scenes I needed to write for the older girls became chore-like.

In addition, this young lady's antagonist began to develop a personality and a voice all his own. Originally I sometimes wrote out scenes from his POV, both because it helped me fill in some things, let me explore why this guy acted the way he did, and, well, I kind of like him a lot and love to spend time with him. I'm finding those throwaway scenes are some of my favorites, and relegating them to my "Little Darlings" file is really unappealing.

All of the sudden, my story has gone from a three POVs to four.

So now I'm faced with a dilemma. I feel like I should let go of my original idea. Cut the two older sisters loose and focus on the youngest. She's far more original, and I like her best of the three.

Except, when I originally concepted the story, the three individual sisters' plots intertwined. What happened to one sister affected the actions of the other sisters, which in turn moved their plots forward. If I cut out the two older sisters, some of the younger sister's story wouldn't happen.

Too, the younger sister's personality was formed by being the youngest of three girls. She fits into a particular slot in her family, and the ways she's differentiated herself from her two older siblings makes her a lot of what she is. If all of the sudden she is sister-less, she changes fundamentally.

I could shove the two older sisters deep into the background. Flesh out only what I need to have fleshed out in order to keep the plot intact. But part of me kind of misses the thought of writing the older sisters' stories, at least at some later date.

Ideally, I'd write three books - one from each sister's POV. Their stories would happen simultaneously, which is where it all falls apart. Any sense of anticipation would be nonexistent, because in reading one sister's story, you'd know what happens to the other two.


I may have to poke around this one for a while longer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, just googling and happened to find your blog. As much as this may seem like a daunting task of keeping the sisters in the plot it is not impossible. Refer to the Crazy series by Tara Janzen. She is amazing at creating little personalities that intrigue you about all of the characters involved, yet still have you focused on the two main characters. She gives you just enough from the other characters involved to leave you wanting to know how their story ends. She also is great at showing how to write a second novel about a character or 2 that had started a courtship or had been introduced in the first novel and the reader is not confused nor do they feel like they missed something. I read book 3 in her series first before I had even realized it was a series. (Ooh Christian Hawkins, still one of my favorites.) There are other authors as well that can show how to entwine characters such as Carly phillips with her Simply Series, Chandler Brother's, and Sealed with a kiss/Cross my Heart. So it's not impossible. Good luck and I hope these books help, if not they are still a fun read!