Plotlines: Then There Were Nine!
As mentioned here, I’ve recently recovered from an acute bout of writer’s block, which I winged about.
You see, besides the freelance work I do that puts bread on the table, my fiction writing puts peanut butter on the bread. Hang on; I’m not a big fan of peanut butter, so let’s make that cheese and ham. Actually, I’m not a huge sandwich person. Unless it’s toasted. (A chicken mayonnaise toastie, now we’re talking.) Anyway, I enjoy few things more than putting words into sentences in the context of a fictional world. Suffice to say, suffering writer’s block made me like a bear with a sore head. Grouchy, grumpy. Dark was my mood.
On reflection, now in the crystal clear light of a new day, I see where my problem began. The monster epic fantasy novel I’m writing charts the course of nine subplots across a fictional supercontinent. Yeah, nine. I had created seven of them. See where I’m going with this?
I had created seven unique, and dare I say, engrossing tales of woe and intrigue. Right. Now, I’ve got to do it again. And again. The eighth one. And the ninth one. Fresh. Different. Novel.
Right. Okay. Let’s do this.
Any time now.
Blood and hell!
Nothing. Well, nothing fresh. Or unique. Or different. Just rehashed versions of one of the other seven.
Could I reduce the nine required subplots to seven? Cut the Northgaters from the story? Who would know? I’m the author anyway.
Can’t do that. How can I have four kingdoms at odds with one another sans one kingdom?
So, why don’t I shoehorn one of the other subplots into the North’s domain? Nah, can’t do that … the characters themselves would protest. And there’s nothing worse than an argument with one of your protagonists. It ain’t pretty.
You see, that’s why I needed a shaft of light. Or the presence of a Muse. Or whatever they put in their coffee.
Yeah, so basically what I’m getting at is that I now know who to blame. Tips for Writers #18: When in doubt, blame your protagonist.
Now I’ve got a whirlwind in my head: there are not just nine subplots, but they’re spinning out of control. Colliding with one another.
Carnage. Beautiful, brutal carnage. But … but that’s for another post.