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More of the same as last week. A lot of digging through old material for background on my various characters, then finding places in the already-written prose to insert it. Mind you, just because it's now part of this draft doesn't mean it's going to stay. But taking the background and including it in the text of the story helps make it more "official" in my mind, and helps me get to know my characters better than a list of dry facts in a file somewhere.

This process was going hunky-dory until I found some stuff on the character who I think of as my "main" character. In my outliney thoughts prior to the start of writing, I had planned for her to meet up with this sort of crazy-interesting street person who would be a guide to her as she explored her past and her identity. Then, when I started to write, I found that difficult to wrap my head around. Maybe because I am not a street person myself, nor do I know any personally. So instead, I dug an even older idea out of mothballs and had her going to a cool, personable therapist instead. Which I know way more about.

But scene after scene of her at the therapist's isn't particularly interesting. So I'm wondering if I should go back to the street-person-as-guide idea. That means rewriting quite a few scenes, and not insignificantly. The dynamic between my character and her "guide" would be very different if it were a stranger off the street than a professional therapist. And it would be a lot of work, which may not be the best plan for a first draft. Again, I bump my head against the, "if I don't change it, I'll get stalled out and won't be able to move forward until I change it" wall.

And the quandary is complicated by the fact that I'm not sure going back to plan A will work, and I won't know if it works until I've done enough rewriting to know.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
What if the street-person is the therapist, and the professional office atmosphere is some kind of mental construct your character uses to justify taking guidance from someone outside of accepted society?
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
I know the street person character pretty well as he is an established character in the story. He would be there regardless. And he's almost as screwed up as she is. He just knows a lot about who/what she is, more than she does, and so has some knowledge that could help her. But he wouldn't have the scruples and boundaries a therapist would.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
Well, then aside from assigning the street person the mental powers to fabricate the therapist, I'm out of ideas.
Feb. 28th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
Suppose the strret person is the therapist, literally-- the character has a multiple personality disorder? That is, the therapist doesn't know he's also the street person, and vice versa. Or maybe he does, but--

I could see a number of ways that could be played.

(Just my 3 cents.)
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
What if the main character thought that the therapist would be a guide of sorts and had things all built up in her mind regarding how much she would learn about herself through therapy and this particular therapist...and then found out that the street person is the real guide? You'd have internal and external conflict, false expectations, confusion (how do you deal with a spiritual guide who's a street person? How many street people does the heroine even know?), disbelief and doubt, resentment that the universe seems to be playing games with her...I think you could have a lot of fun with this situation.
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
She *is* going to go to the therapist regardless, because I've already established she was arrested for trespassing and put on probation, and one of the requirements of her probation is she go to a therapist whose job it is to ensure her employment/sobriety. Yeah, she has a bit of a history. I've already thought about keeping part of her first therapy session and having it go poorly instead of promisingly as it did before.

But she *is* sober and employed, so she wouldn't be hanging around with a lot of street people. In fact, she finds this guy intrusive and annoying as I have it written now (I still have the scene where she meets the street guy, even though I never followed it up). I mean, if you're a young woman, the last thing you're going to respond to is some street guy haranguing you. Maybe that's where I stalled out. There's no connection there. He's annoying and frightening just as he is on the surface, but his knowledge of "what/who" she is is also frightening as she is not sure she wants to explore that at all.

Yeah, I need to make him nicer somehow, less someone you'd want to avoid just seeing him half a block away.

Feb. 27th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
There are a couple regular homeless guys that I see around places that I go to often - the drug store, local liquor store - and they are impossible to get out of conversations with. Perfectly harmless but once I give them some money and say hi, a five minute monologue ensues until I can make up an excuse to edge away.

As long as the man doesn't start off frightening it's not hard to see your character talking to him.
Feb. 27th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
Talking to him, sure, but would you want to be *friends* with these guys? Most of them are pretty needy, and you can sense it and there's just this feeling of, "When can I just get away from this guy?" Even if they are harmless otherwise.

I need a guy she can be friends with, even if reluctantly. Which means finding some kind of way of creating a connection between them.
Feb. 27th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
The other problem is the street person character knows too much. He has all the answers already, and so I have to make him deliberately evasive with her in order to keep the character, and the reader, in the dark until I am ready for details to slowly dribble out. I think that's the real reason I veered away from the street person story line. I had to make him a major game-player and @sshole in order to ensure his evasiveness. Which makes him more interesting in general, but not particularly guide-y and not a character who resonates heavily with me personally.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )