It never fails. In every novel or novella I have written, the story decides about four-fifths of the way through to scrap my original ending and take a hard turn somewhere else. Every. Single. Time.
The next Lodestone installment was supposed to end in an abandoned warehouse in the outer skirts of New Orleans with a magic showdown/fortress battle. But no…. it decided to stay in the French Quarter, and my villain released an extra werewolf I wasn’t expecting. And she unleashed some fog, so I couldnt see anything going on, which makes for fun writing. (Watching a character wearing a hooded cloak walking through fog under the glow of street lights is pretty sweet, though.) Meanwhile, I’ve got a new ending unfolding in my imagination in split second snippets,and I can’t keep up with it.
Such is the life of the writer. We slave over the research, the character sheets, and the planning, only to have the the story take matters into its own hands.
Personally, I believe this kind of thing, be it our character’s refusing to do what we want them to or the story unfolding the opposite way we planned, is actually our subconscious working out a few of the manuscripts hidden structural problems. In this case, I never felt comfortable with the original ending. It didn’t sit right or make sense. I suspected the “magic showdown” was something I forced into the climax because it sounded cool. I totally ignored that my villain wouldn’t have chosen that method to achieve her goals. When writing time came this morning, I’m pretty sure my subconscious fixed the problem without telling the rest of me.
The only problem with stories taking on lives of their own: the cleanup. I now have to go through the manuscript and fix things and eliminate others. Fortunately, this is just the first draft, so it won’t take as long. Sigh. But it will be worth it. The story is better already.
How about you? Have you ever had a story take th reins? How did it work out? Leave comments 🙂
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Fantasy, steampunk, pulp, and paranormal novelist M. B. Weston is the author of The Elysian Chronicles, a fantasy series about guardian angel warfare and treason. For more information on M. B. Weston, visit www.mbweston.com. To receive notification of M. B. Weston’s book releases click here to subscribe to Dark Oak Press & Media’s e-newsletter.