Friday, June 21, 2013

"I've known Max for a long time, and I'm very - fond of him. But if you have to pick one or the other...please pick Himey."

 Wherein Jack admits that her characters sometimes have better ideas than her.

 I've mentioned before that my books are often commandeered by my characters. This happens more times than I'd care to own to. It all started with a book I wrote about a prince. The story was supposed to be about him, but another character had other plans and took over. (This book has been re-written at least ten times and still has an uncertain plot as the result of this take over.)

 I fought the first mutiny for all I was worth, going so far as to kill off the rebellious character. However, his fan girl army rose up against me, and he pulled a Sherlock. Since then, other characters have joined him in the rebellious stages. Few side with me and we wage battles over the books. Though usually, in the end, the rebels win out and get the book their way. I sulk about it, never admitting to their faces that their ideas are better. (I don't wish it going to their heads, though in some cases this fails. It went to Steed's head the moment he introduced himself. "Hello. I'm Captain Shamus Steed and I'm amazing." If my characters were animals Steed would be a silky house cat who would look at you with his big eyes and steal your heart - only to later make you his willing slave.)

 I've learned to accept these mutinies. I've learned to not plot too much into a book. I've learned that, the moment I get a spark of an idea I have to sit back and wait for the characters to appear so they can tell me how the book will pan out. It takes them awhile sometimes, and sometimes I have to threaten to get results - the crew of The Broken Blade for example - but in the end we usually agree on something and I spend hours on end writing their story.
 However, sometimes they keep it all to themselves just to watch me pace and forget to eat and sleep. They like to watch me chew my pens to bits as I work out every possible idea to get the plot right. And they just sit there and smile at me, refusing to help.

 This has happened yet again.

 The original idea I had for Haphazardly Implausible was simple. A story about a soldier and an airship. One book - which went wild. Over time it turned into a four-part series with a wild, unruly cast who stole my heart. Characters came and some had to go. Others refused to leave. I had a lot of fun writing the first drafts. I went on a crazy adventure filled with battles, steam, gears, mad scientists, and a villain who felt worthy to live up to the hero. And then I finished it, and I thought it almost perfect. (This is where the characters started to snicker at me.)

 As I began editing book one, they began making subtle changes. (This wasn't at all like the other changes they made. The time Irene was removed from the books, Peter's sister vanishing. {His sister who I thought would later end up marrying his best friend.} This wasn't even like the change to Peter himself. {In the very first draft, Peter was every inch the soldier. Smart, grim, determined, hardly ever smiling. And he just didn't fit. I had no idea I was forcing a slow of wit, loyal, and, at times, funny boy into the character of a fighter. Although, even as he is now, Peter is still the soldier and fighter he used to be, it is just harder to spot.)
 Anyway, the changes I began to notice were small and didn't change the overall plot of the book. Steed became more snarky and showed more sass than I thought he had in him. Hannah turned into more of a romantic than I thought she would ever be. Hogan's temper showed up. Darcy actually had feelings. I think the only one who stayed the same was Kirk, my dear Kirk who had always remained in the background, guiding the story through his quiet nature and understanding of the others - in the same manner he flies the airship.
 A new character even appeared, a friend for Kirk, the sometimes confusing Alfie who's backstory I wasn't told until the second book.

 I think the hardest change in the final draft was in adding Alfie. (Reasons to remain unknown until later books for the sake of spoilers.) But even that wasn't a major setback. I could work with Alfie, I could fit him into the overall story. And so, book one was completed and I began book two.

 I thought it would be easy. I already had the first draft done and I liked it. All it needed was some touch up. (More character laughter.) 
 When I re-write I don't go off what I've already written. I start with a fresh document and start all over. It is easier for me this way. But this time, as I wrote, I began to notice more changes. Again, small things - no more vanishing sisters. But they were bigger than book one, and by the time I reached twenty chapters I realized just how much those small changes had added up. Things had been added into the story which weren't in draft one. And they made the book longer - albeit, better. But then I sat back and worked out everything which had been in original book two and realized there was no way I could add it all into the new book two.

 Slightly panicked, I worked out my options. I knew I could take out the new character who was going to make the book too long. He didn't play a huge role in book two, but his role grows through the series until - in the end - he is one of the most important characters in the story. 
 I went through more options. In the end I had to admit, the only one I could go with was to add another book to the series.

 Most series I write are four books at the most. I wasn't sure I could manage a five part series. Until I began to think over first drafts. I kept a lot out of those books for lack of space, and the story suffered for it. And then I knew, I could do five books.

 So, here I am, announcing it. My Haphazardly Implausible series is now to be published in five books, rather than four. Steed is pleased about this - more book time for him. I have mixed feelings, mostly over the title. It took me forever to come up with four book titles that went together - there is another story behind this - I'm not sure I can get another out of it. But I will worry about that later. (Put off today what you can brain storm about tomorrow.)
 For now, I plan to work on getting book two at least written, and then working out all the other details when I can formulate a better plan of attack.

 Speaking of which, I really should get back to writing. But before I go, I would like to share some very fun news!

 I received an email the other day, a request to sponsor my blog. (This has never happened before and was very exciting.) Even better though, I was given the link to a wonderful editing tool. It is called Grammarly, and I've used it to edit this post. (I also plan to use it to edit a lot more things. Book editing just got a tad bit easier.) I was given the link to a wonderful

 Now, I am going to bed. I am close to finishing another good book and want to have it done before I fall asleep. Really not that complicated of a goal.

 Quote is from Get Smart, when the Chief is trying to talk his niece into liking Himey the robot over Max.

 Allons-y!

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11 comments :

  1. Sponsor?! *high fives*
    YESSSSSSSSSSS!

    I think we all raise our glasses when I say that we celebrate with you. ;P

    Jiminy Cricket Lewis! You've got me all hyped up for Haphazardly Implausible's squeals, and now I have to wait.

    A very.
    Long.
    Time.

    You are evil.

    But I think at one point in time, you already owned up to that fact, and now you're just flaunting it like every other self-acclaimed evil person does.

    Now I am going to read my new book.

    Goodnight.

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  2. Congratulations!!! And I know what you mean about characters making changes. The book I'm working on is on the second draft. My main character--Ross--showed up as a secondary character in the first draft and DEMANDED that I make him MC. XD *sigh*

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  3. I really love reading about your writing journey on here and I especially love how in-depth you go about what you're thinking in regards to your characters.

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  4. Congratulations on getting sponsored!

    Also, I agree. The characters dictate the story. The author is more of a translator. With this comes length, and any other aspect.

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  5. WOW! Congrats on being sponsored. That's super amazing (and cool!). And also, it's great that you're writing a 5-part series. When my fantasy went wild, I had noooo idea how many books I'd end up with. It was supposed to be a stand-alone! (Heh. Funny.) Good on your characters for telling you who's boss, eh? ;) We writers surely aren't the ones in charge. HAR HAR HAR! XD

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  6. That is so awesome! Congrats on the sponsor thing.
    And characters just love to steal the show. But I guess there wouldn't be much of a show without them. Oddball was supposed to be a stand alone too. Something quick, that I could get the hang of writing a full manuscript with. Now it's something I can get the hang of writing a trilogy with. The characters had other things in mind. :P

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  7. Congratulations on being sponsered!

    Ah. Rebellious charries. Mine have never been too troublesome, but I have two charries imparticular who are giving me trouble now. One is a character I am considering cutting from the book I am editing. She has important roles that I will have to think on how to do without her. The other character is my villain from my WIP--I don't know his name. I tried interviewing him and I found out some things I didn't know, but I don't know his name.

    ~Robyn Hoode

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  8. Five books?! Wow, that is really awesome! :D The very best characters are the ones that write themselves. One of my sisters has the same thing happen when she writes. The story grows and grows until she has this massive creation...I don't know how you people handle that sort of thing! ;)
    My characters change all the time...usually depending on my mood when I'm writing. Hence, my stories tend to feel a bit bi-polar. *Grin* It's something I have to work on.

    Anyway. Congratulations on the sponsor! That is so cool! And you totally deserve it.

    Cheers!

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  9. Aw, Jack, I just love this story. Seeing your story grow and expand is so wonderful.

    AND...W00t!!!! Sponsor!!!

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  10. GRAMMARLY is a great source. I love it muchly! :)

    Don't you HATE it when your characters tell you exactly what happens in your novel, instead of vice-versa? I mean, sometimes it's okay... like in one of my books, one of my characters kind of gently told me he should probably die in order to get my hero to decide to do what was needed to be done. Still, it was an unexpected twist, and one I hadn't expected to make. At all. But at the same time, it's a bit irritating. I mean, I'M the one driving this vehicle, thank you very much! I'd appreciate it if you'd all just take a back seat and let me drive!!!

    By the way, I meant to mention your previous quote, about insanity practically galloping. I went "Squeeeeee!" over that. Aside from my family, there's not many people I know who have seen Arsenic and Old Lace. I LOVE that movie! It is such a crazy fun romp, and I adore Peter Lorre as Doctor Einstein. :)

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  11. Oh wow! That's great news! Eeep! I'm so excited!
    I must say... when you first said you were announcing something on Saturday I got really afraid... We were camping the whole weekend and I convinced myself that the announcement was going to be something drastically horrible (like you were dropping the series or re-writing book one. I've always had an active imagination...). So I was relieved today when we came home and saw your news! Now I'm very, very excited. Good luck on your search for a fifth book title! (You could always go random on us... Make the first four sound all the same and complicated and then have the fifth one very plain like "End" or something.)

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