Where our characters/story have surprised us

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Where our characters/story have surprised us

Post by Poetic-Jessie on Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:12 am

So, this topic is about where our characters decided they'd do something completely different to what you had plotted/planned. I used to be a panster, so my characters surprised me regularly. Then I started plotting (because I found this helped me write faster during NaNoWriMo) but my characters/story still manage to have a mind of their own every now and then. I gave a couple of examples in another topic, but I'll give another example here.

I was writing about about a pretty heavy topic, not fantasy but fiction based in our world (I think it's called contemporary fiction). This was before I discovered that writing fantasy meant that I didn't have to reference anything (anyone else get the feeling that they need to reference everything when writing contemporary fiction? I felt like I needed to back up everything with peer-reviewed articles...). Anyway, given the nature of the topic, I thought that romance would subtract from the story and decided as I started that I wouldn't include it whatsoever.

But about the third chapter in, I noticed that a romance was developing between the main character and a side character, almost as if in defiance of me. I continued writing anyway, thinking that I would follow where the story led me and I was glad that I did, the topic was too heavy without the light-hearted romance.
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Re: Where our characters/story have surprised us

Post by Call Me Nefret on Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:10 pm

My big series (the one I'm hoping will get published over all others) right now has only one book. But merely in the brainstorming, things have suddenly occurred to me for future books. In the first the female protagonist (the MC is her male partner) has a sort of failed romance. She falls for a guy that's working under cover with the bad guys to thwart them. He's nice and charismatic and has the dedication for the guild as she does. But he didn't want to start a romantic relationship because he was so deep undercover. He didn't want to leave her waiting for him.

It was originally meant to make her look sympathetic. She's the brains of the pair (her and the protagonist, as they're on the same team working to stop time traveling anarchists) and tended to come off a bit to harsh. After I decided that she and her partner did have an organic chemistry that I didn't force, they would end up together. At first, I thought I would have the original love interest come back with some sort of "when I left I told you not to wait for me. Is there any chance you did anyway?" scene. Wherein she would explain that she hadn't and he would agree that it was for the best.

Since the first brainstorming, it has changed drastically. Another one of the characters, a bitchy Blair Waldorf-esque...I'll call her a deity just to keep from confusing people, suddenly popped into my head with some sage wisdom for the young female MC. The scene essentially wrote itself in my daydreams. It went something like this:

June (MC): Austen's a good man.
Piper: No, he's a 'nice guy'. Nick's (*MC) a good man.
June: What's the difference?
Piper: A good man is good because he decides he's going to be. Happy or miserable, he's going to stay a good man.
June: And a nice guy?
Piper: A nice guy only stays nice as long as being nice gets him somewhere. When shit hits the fan, the mask comes off.

Suddenly I realized that Austen would have given up years of his life and the one girl he had a shot with to spend hours with the bad guys (another guy/girl team they sometimes refer to as the "Homicidal Honeymooners"). His mind would have been warped from spending so much time around anarchists. And when he finally leaves and comes back, his one last hope was that the girl he loved would agree to be his. When she refuses, he's going to snap.

The character has yet to tell me how he's going to snap. In one daydream the MC team is married with an infant daughter and the bat-shit-crazy agent tells the NIck he'll go after her if he doesn't leave June. In another....well, let's just say it would require a trigger warning at the beginning. But that is something that would require much more thought and tact. I would need a lot more work on my writing before I would even think of undertaking an issue so serious.
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Re: Where our characters/story have surprised us

Post by Poetic-Jessie on Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:31 pm

I was finishing a story over the weekend and my antagonist surprised me again. (This is the proactive antagonist I mentioned in another post. The one who knocked at the door just before a dinner party and made the protagonist think she needed to defend herself.)

Anyway, so my protagonist moved to a more secure location after this first encounter with the antagonist and was about a day away from infiltrating the head quarters of the antagonist. Then the antagonist (to my surprise) knocked down her door (apparently having tracked her once more) and abducted her (again, to my surprise). He basically walked in, overpowered the people in the apartment (and did so in a surprising way) and walked out with her, barely even a scratch on him... He also figured out later on that she was trying to bring him to justice and laughed in her face about how a terrible job she was doing.

The group already had a rescue plan (because that was part of the infiltration plan), so they put up a fight but kind of let the antagonist take her. Then they had to move their plans ahead and needed to very quickly call in all of their contacts so they could rescue her.

A series of very surprising events took place after that but it somehow all meshed together in the end... She didn't really need rescuing, she was in the process of escaping when she met her group and they all faced the antagonist and his cronies together. The epic battle I had planned wasn't so epic... The romantic tension wasn't all that tense... But I guess this was a first draft, so that's okay. I'm not sure if I like this ending more than the ending I had planned, (my protagonist was going to be more proactive rather than reactive) but it's too soon to look at it and analyse it. I need some space from the story for a while...
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Re: Where our characters/story have surprised us

Post by Sophie on Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:58 pm

Poetic-Jessie wrote:I was finishing a story over the weekend and my antagonist surprised me again. (This is the proactive antagonist I mentioned in another post. The one who knocked at the door just before a dinner party and made the protagonist think she needed to defend herself.)

Anyway, so my protagonist moved to a more secure location after this first encounter with the antagonist and was about a day away from infiltrating the head quarters of the antagonist. Then the antagonist (to my surprise) knocked down her door (apparently having tracked her once more) and abducted her (again, to my surprise). He basically walked in, overpowered the people in the apartment (and did so in a surprising way) and walked out with her, barely even a scratch on him... He also figured out later on that she was trying to bring him to justice and laughed in her face about how a terrible job she was doing.

The group already had a rescue plan (because that was part of the infiltration plan), so they put up a fight but kind of let the antagonist take her. Then they had to move their plans ahead and needed to very quickly call in all of their contacts so they could rescue her.

A series of very surprising events took place after that but it somehow all meshed together in the end... She didn't really need rescuing, she was in the process of escaping when she met her group and they all faced the antagonist and his cronies together. The epic battle I had planned wasn't so epic... The romantic tension wasn't all that tense... But I guess this was a first draft, so that's okay. I'm not sure if I like this ending more than the ending I had planned, (my protagonist was going to be more proactive rather than reactive) but it's too soon to look at it and analyse it. I need some space from the story for a while...

That's really interesting. I like the idea that he would mock her about the terrible job she was doing in trying to bring him to justice. But I wonder why he decided to kidnap her in the first place. Was it just to show off his power? Or did he have other nefarious plans? Anyway. It's a first draft so any ending is a good ending, even if you change it later!
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Re: Where our characters/story have surprised us

Post by Poetic-Jessie on Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:43 pm

Sophie wrote:
That's really interesting. I like the idea that he would mock her about the terrible job she was doing in trying to bring him to justice. But I wonder why he decided to kidnap her in the first place. Was it just to show off his power? Or did he have other nefarious plans?

He was trying to build an army of electricity mages by brainwashing them. And she, being an electricity mage, thought she'd infiltrate (she underestimated how powerful the brainwashing was, but knew that her friends would get her out). She took too long getting everything organised and ready to confront him, that's why he got impatient and went to get her himself. Then he started the brainwashing process on her, which was interrupted by the rescue.

Sophie wrote:
It's a first draft so any ending is a good ending, even if you change it later!

The fact that it's finished is a huge relief Very Happy

I never really analysed it from his perspective, now I understand his motivations more. XD thanks for the feedback
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Re: Where our characters/story have surprised us

Post by Call Me Nefret on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:16 am

Poetic-Jessie wrote:I was finishing a story over the weekend and my antagonist surprised me again. (This is the proactive antagonist I mentioned in another post. The one who knocked at the door just before a dinner party and made the protagonist think she needed to defend herself.)

Anyway, so my protagonist moved to a more secure location after this first encounter with the antagonist and was about a day away from infiltrating the head quarters of the antagonist. Then the antagonist (to my surprise) knocked down her door (apparently having tracked her once more) and abducted her (again, to my surprise). He basically walked in, overpowered the people in the apartment (and did so in a surprising way) and walked out with her, barely even a scratch on him... He also figured out later on that she was trying to bring him to justice and laughed in her face about how a terrible job she was doing.

The group already had a rescue plan (because that was part of the infiltration plan), so they put up a fight but kind of let the antagonist take her. Then they had to move their plans ahead and needed to very quickly call in all of their contacts so they could rescue her.

A series of very surprising events took place after that but it somehow all meshed together in the end... She didn't really need rescuing, she was in the process of escaping when she met her group and they all faced the antagonist and his cronies together. The epic battle I had planned wasn't so epic... The romantic tension wasn't all that tense... But I guess this was a first draft, so that's okay. I'm not sure if I like this ending more than the ending I had planned, (my protagonist was going to be more proactive rather than reactive) but it's too soon to look at it and analyse it. I need some space from the story for a while...

Did he have some way of nixing her abilities? I'm assuming she would put up a fight, even if she was taken by surprise. Or was she thinking along the same lines as her friends and letting it happen, as it needed to happen anyway?

Also, did you ever think that this was your subconscious getting impatient? Like there was a little part of your brain going "oh C'MON ALREADY" and suddenly the antagonist showed up on the doorstep? I sometimes think that about my own writing. Like there's a writer part of my brain I don't really know about that takes over sometimes.
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Re: Where our characters/story have surprised us

Post by Poetic-Jessie on Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:14 am

Call Me Nefret wrote: Did he have some way of nixing her abilities? I'm assuming she would put up a fight, even if she was taken by surprise. Or was she thinking along the same lines as her friends and letting it happen, as it needed to happen anyway?

He did have a way of nixing her abilities. But she put up a fight because he was hurting her friends, then he nixed her abilities and abducted her, leaving her friends safe, if unconscious.

Call Me Nefret wrote: Also, did you ever think that this was your subconscious getting impatient? Like there was a little part of your brain going "oh C'MON ALREADY" and suddenly the antagonist showed up on the doorstep? I sometimes think that about my own writing. Like there's a writer part of my brain I don't really know about that takes over sometimes.

lol I love this idea XD I've never thought about it being a part of my subconscious getting impatient, but I can certainly see how it would get impatient in this case. I'm sure that there's a writer part of my brain that takes over sometimes. I guess it's how people pants and how our characters surprise us XD
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