Thursday, March 03, 2011

Stop trying to write me and write me!

Writer's block is not something I usually suffer from. Sorry. 'From which I usually suffer.' It's my internal editor/critic who causes most of my problems.

As a pantser I usually just follow my characters around and see what they do, with only an idea of a plot which is usually embedded in the situation. Joseph Marquand is a werewolf hunter investigating a werewolf attack on a lunar base populated by two different types of werewolves. What happens next? Well, it depends on which character you're following. My storyteller Jasec is telling tales to a variety of listeners. What he tells and how he tells it varies with his audience and his purpose, a larger context that has a life of its own.

Sometimes the story I try to tell is not the story I thought I was telling. I try to find the logic of the characters, figure out what they'll do in a given situation. But characters, if they're created right to begin with, aren't necessarily logical, any more than any other person. If they were perfectly logical they'd be computers or Vulcans, both of whom make boring lead characters. In order to make them interesting we have to give them human characteristics, at the risk of having them act OOC or completely upset the internal dynamic of the universe we write in. If Vulcans start acting like us, only with their greater strength, intelligence, and lifespans, why are humans the dominant power in the Federation? If vampires are just super-sexy, bloodsucking people, why wouldn't everyone on Earth want to be one? Where's the downside?

All of which is just my way of saying that I'm straying from the point. A properly made character does what he wants to do, and trying to force him to do the logical thing, or the plot-advancing thing, just ain't gonna work. Men usually don't know what the plot of their lives is, and they wouldn't necessarily go out of their way to advance it if they did. A character who only did that sort of thing would be a cardboard cutout, and no one would care.

So I don't suffer from writer's block, but I do suffer from character-block. Sometimes they just don't want to do what I want them to do, and the story won't let me write it until I stop trying to write some other story.

Hasn't this ever happened to you?