Before Christmas I blogged about wrestling with the rewrites of my current work in progress. At the time I was using the term “work in progress” in its loosest sense you will understand.
I had been worrying away at trying to make a section work and failing spectacularly to understand why the piece wasn’t coming together.
My time away made me realise what was wrong. I was trying to make the characters act out of character to suit the plot.
It was so obvious when I went back it. Suddenly I could see that shoe horning the characters into the boxes that the plot dictated took away what made their characters work in the first place.
It was a salutary lesson. As soon as I stopped trying to make my characters act against their will, the scenes began to come together and the writing started to flow.
No plot is written in stone. It can always be improved upon. As soon as I made the necessary changes and allowed my characters to act in a way that suited the personalities I had built for them I stopped trying to push a boulder up a hill.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking just because you came up with a plot it must always remain as originally thought up. Adapt it, play with it, experiment.
And the next time you are struggling to make a scene sing, ask yourself if you are making your characters act out of character just so that you can preserve the plot and if the answer is yes don’t sacrifice your characters, change the plot.