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How Deep is Too Deep?

One of my characters has made me angry. Well, it’s more accurate to admit that I wrote a section of a chapter during which I caused a character of my creation to do something that, ultimately, made me angry.

In case you don’t recall my saying so previously, I am an organic writer. What that means is that I create the opening to a novel, decide upon how it might end, and then create a short list of things I’d like to happen in-between with regard to plot, relationships between characters, and overall character growth. I then connect those dots naturally. I know of some writers who prefer to have strict guidelines and will create outlines of each chapter and assemble a concordance. That’s fantastic for those who prefer that method. I may one day try it myself either as an experiment or because I’ll have to when it comes time to start the series that I’ve drafted and have waiting its turn among the pool of other goodies I plan to write and publish. Having strict guidelines then will likely go a long way toward helping me to maintain consistency throughout all of the books in a particular series.

And, I’ll address my own personal issues with the lack of that process by other writers and what problems it can cause in my next post. I definitely have strong opinions on that, but for now…

Back to the topic at hand.

My crazy organic writing style (and the choice of music I was listening to at the time) transformed a scene into something that, while not initially planned, turned out rather fantastic…and made me very angry with one of my own characters. It’s amazing, though, because I already had in the back of my mind these aforementioned dots that needed to be connected and I wasn’t yet sure how to manage it. Now that I have, I really want to follow the trail of this particular character through a little deeper and explore what more can and should be done to bring her out from the supporting character she was originally conceived to be and into a spot as one of the leads.

Is that feasible? Does it make sense? How deep is too deep to go into this particular character when she was meant to have a different role when the novel was conceptualized? See, the wonderful thing about it is that my plans for her will actually make the ending I intended much stronger. The ideas I came up with her today, while making me angry, make her amazing and gives the novels more of the balance it’ll ultimately need.

Let’s be honest – I got lucky that time!  But, that’s one of the reasons that I don’t like planning every little thing. I often stumble upon these hidden gems when I allow my characters to speak to me as I write. Let’s take, for example, one of my characters in Duality. The way he was conceptualized in my initial character sketch differs from who he evolved into, and that was because I allowed him to forge his own path and it made the story so much better in some ways, and harder to write in others. Having those difficult sections became an exercise for me as a writer and gave me the opportunity to dig into a range I usually shy away from. I’m not kidding when I say that I often had dreams of the novel and of that character, and I’m so happy that I listened.

So, becoming angry isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m curious to find out if she will have the same effect on the beta readers when it’s time to offer the book up to them. But, for now – Onward!