August 23, 2011 by Renee
And this guy is to blame. Okay, not really. But who can think with something like this floating around her head? I mean, seriously.
Today I wrote nothing but this blog post. Why? Partly because I wasted an hour looking at photos of Clive, and partly because I decided that with the fleas and lice, and lord only knows what else, infesting my house this summer, perhaps it’s time I broke down and did what all good housewives do; clean. Specifically, I shampooed the carpets. First, who the hell makes shampooers and where do they live? I’d like to discuss their idea of the height of an average adult and then thump them over the head with their stupidly short machine. Seriously, I’m not THAT tall. Second, I have white carpets. Well, silvery white, but before, they were beige. Like…double-double coffee beige. Wow. That’s a dirty carpet. Tomorrow it’s on to the basement and foyer. I can’t even imagine what color those carpets are. It’s like an adventure that’s not really that fun because I have to work.
But you don’t care about my carpets or my housewifery, do you. No. So let’s get on to discussing writing. Today’s post is about how easily I am drawn off course. Not distracted as in, oh look, Clive’s picture! But distracted as in, I made an outline and I’m completely ignoring it. Not only that, but I’ve gone so far off course, it’s not even the same story. I could still write the one I outlined and have two entirely different novels. What have I done?
Detour #1: Genre
Originally, this was to be a paranormal novel. Not so much romance as humor and kind of creepy. What genre is that? I have no idea. Let’s say paranormal and forget about it. I’ve got about 40K words written and the novel is decidedly paranormal erotica with a dash of funny. The sex is ridiculous and I’m not sure it’s even any good. What? Me too. I have no idea how erotica got mixed up in there, but it’s sure to be a disaster with me writing it. I must stop thinking about Clive while I write.
Detour #2: Characters
In my outline, I had three main characters. Secondary characters are always made on the fly with me, so I expected one or two to pop up. However, the main characters were to be Nate: A god-type thing, Bianca: human changed into a god-type immortal thing, and Michael: sweet, sexy, HUMAN, and the third wheel in the love triangle with Bianca and Nate. By the way, Michael was supposed to win the game in the end. Now, I have Michael as Nate’s nemesis, sort of. Bianca is the Chosen, which is really a fancy name for shit out of luck, and each side of the equation has about six additional characters. Also, the bad guy came out of nowhere and he’s a woman.
Detour #3: Setting
The paranormal element wasn’t supposed to play a big role. Sure, it was obvious, but I didn’t plan to do a lot of world building so beyond their immortality, the story focused on action and a right versus wrong theme. Everything was suppposed to take place on Earth. So, how did it end up on two parallel worlds? Your guess is as good as mine.
Detour #4: The Whole Plot
It’s nothing like what I’d planned. Actually, I don’t even know what’s happening. I’m as much in the dark as the reader at this point. Scary.
Solution: New outline or start over.
That’s all I can do. I’m not a pantser by nature, so this 40K words of unknown story that remains is really bothering me. Actually, it’s keeping me up at night. I have to know how I’m going to end it so I can write toward that ending. Make sense? Sure it does. I also need to have an idea of how much more world building I need to do before I get there. Believe me, I’ve written myself into a few corners before and I really hate doing that.
My question this time is for all the Plotters out there. Have you ever gone so far off your original outline that you completely changed the story? If so, help!