The school term has come an end, which means that I'll get some time off for Christmas. I'm going to visit my parents, who live in another state, for a few days. The rest of the time I'll be in Chicago. I'll be using my Christmas break mainly to work on my dissertation, clean out my apartment, and write fiction. Oh, and I'll probably "relax" at least 5% of the time and do something fun. (What? I'm a neurotic workaholic, not a laid-back slacker! And even when I "relax" and do something that isn't work, I'm still thinking about all the work that I have to do.)
Now that I have some free time, I've come back to my manuscripts, one of which includes a love triangle. I've come up with more than one ending for it. In one ending, the main character ends up with the "right" guy. But something about that ending feels wrong to me. I feel like it's the ending that I want, not the ending that the main character wants.
For me, my characters do become "real", in some sense. Not real in the sense that I ate breakfast with the main character and am going to go out later and give wedgies to annoying people with her best friend. But "real" in the sense that sometimes when I'm writing, the characters say or do something that surprise me, because I hadn't even been thinking about it before. That's why I'm not very good at plotting, because I don't always know what's going to happen ahead of time. And I think that's part of what makes writing fun. (Of course, if plotting works for you, keep doing it.)
At first, the main character resembled me in many respects, but as I kept writing, she started developing a personality of her own. (But she still possesses several of my traits, such as the fact that she yells at her neighbors to MOVE OUT when they have one of their "Let's party like we don't have neighbors" parties.) That's why when I tried to write this one ending for her, it felt like she kept shaking her head and saying, "NO! That's what you would do, not what I would do."
If I change the ending, it changes the entire tone of the story. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is hard for me to just let go and let the characters tell their story. In addition to being a neurotic workaholic, I'm also a control freak.
One reason I've been thinking about this a lot lately is that I didn't get the ending I wanted with my crush. No, I didn't ask him out, but he did snub me recently. I won't get into specifics on how he snubbed me, because I'm still nervous that he'll find this blog somehow (incidentally, outside of the blogosphere, most people don't know that I'm Neurotic Workaholic or even that I want to be a writer, because I keep my writing life a secret).
He didn't snub me in a cruel way, not in the way that would make Taylor Swift write an angry song about him. But it was more of a thoughtless snub, and it cut deep all the same. The ending I wanted was one where I could finally give up online dating FOREVER and be with a guy who I thought was worth the wait. But it just didn't turn out that way.
Don't worry. I'm okay, or at least I will be...eventually. I'm going to go listen to one of my Taylor Swift playlists on my iPod. Yes, I have more than one.
Does that ever happen to you? That is, do you find yourself struggling
with the ending or other scenes, where you want your characters to act
one way but they keep resisting and make the scenes fall flat or come up with their own scenes? How do you deal with it?
Interview with… Adam Byatt - Today it’s the turn of Adam Byatt to sit down and share his writing with us. This is my 13th interview, and there are still some wonderful authors to come!...
1 week ago