Little bits and pieces are falling together with For More Than Earthly Ends. At first it didn’t seem like they’re things that are at all crucial, but the nature of writing is such that every bit builds momentum for the next to take advantage of. Some unexpected thing happened during the course of writing over the past two weeks, which was all a little strange.
I’ve had this supporting character hanging around the story, causing strife for the main character, but slowly developing into a sympathetic character. Well… things don’t always go according to plan. As I was writing a scene with the character, I found the scene taking on a different path to what I’d originally thought would happen. This is pretty normal for my process. I know the overall idea of a scene, just as I know the overall flow of the story. Bits and pieces might be changed or added as I go, but it’s a fairly ordered affair.
There’s a degree of chance when writing. The character might say something I didn’t expect, which is a funny way for me to say I picture what the character is doing, and then let it happen along the lines of whatever ideas come to mind that still feel true to the idea of the character. Sometimes the ideas are too forceful to ignore. They have to be within character still, but beyond that I do feel like those random ideas that come about are the authentic actions of a character. If the idea comes to me that a character would check for a parachute in a plane, then they have to do it, even if I want them to crash. Other characters of mine wouldn’t do the same.
This supporting character ended up in a difficult situation and while it was developing around them, the scene went from one meant to show the horrible choices that were forced upon some people, into one where the other parties in the scene were a more troubling force than I’d realised before. I blame one of my other characters, because he’s the one who saw it happening. The long-short, is that the supporting character got into a situation where they had to act, but were completely of their depth, and the consequences could only be fatal. No last second escapes, but real repercussions. Once the idea was there, that’s just how it had to be. It’s one of the reasons I’m writing this chronologically. The idea demands to be given a route through the setting that isn’t dependent on the integrity of future stories.
I’m usually not affected by a character’s death. There’s a character that dies in one of the sequel stories in the FMTEE universe that is pretty sad, and I love the character more than the two that outlive them, but it’s a death I knew would always be there. I’ve killed off characters in dire circumstances, and done so many times. This was different, because I was completely blindsided. Nevermind that I’m the one that wrote it, but once it happened, they always had to die like that. I had a few days where I was still a little shaken by it, and it’s still one of those situations where I know it makes the story better, but don’t love that they die. There are elements that have since fallen into place that make a lot of sense, and reinforce that this was how it was meant to happen.
I’m getting fairly excited as things move closer to the end of the first draft, but the most peculiar aspect of how I’m thinking of the novel, is that I’m caring less about whether my writing is good or bad. I naturally want it to be good, and I subjectively want it to be something I wouldn’t hesitate to show somebody. As many writers do, I sometimes doubt the quality of my writing. Am I doing well, or am I deluding myself? Is the subject matter of what I’m writing interesting enough, and is my writing doing it justice? Is this anywhere near as interesting as I think it is, or will it be better as a means to put people to sleep?
I’ve worried about that for a while, and with a project as ambitious as this is (for me, anyway), it will always be a factor. It’s now the longest piece of writing I have, and it’ll be far and away so by the time the draft is finished. Will it be worth reading?
It almost doesn’t matter. I’m so excited about the setting, the story, and everything that’s happening with it, that it’s becoming too big for me to bother with the state of my ego as it pertains to writing. I’m looking forward to showing some beta readers and eventually getting this to a publishable state, but just writing it is becoming enough. Yes, I’ll want to publish it, but that’s more to do with the story being told than it being me that’s doing the telling.