Breakthrough!

It may sound like a small thing, but I had a great idea when I was sitting on the toilet.

(Note: Most of the best scripting moments for Schlock Mercenary are plumbing-related — the bath, the shower, or the can.)

See, I had the twisty intricacies of the plot worked out, but there were some justifications missing. And then, as I was scripting, one of the characters tried to drag the story off in a new direction. I fussed and fumed over the script, and finally decided that I needed a bio break.

So, sitting on the toilet, the Voices In My Head continued to mull over this new plot direction… and suddenly it all came together. It wasn’t a new direction at all. It was critical to the story. It HAD to happen that way in order for What Comes Next to make a reasonable amount of sense.

I was so excited I almost forgot to pull up my pants on my way back downstairs.

–Howard

13 thoughts on “Breakthrough!”

  1. You know, I often hear writers talk about how their characters take over the story and drag it where it wasn’t intended to go…and it’s usually better for it.

    I don’t think I want to know how often you flash your family.

  2. Voices and the Water Muse

    the Voices In My Head continued to mull over this new plot direction… and suddenly it all came together. It wasn’t a new direction at all. It was critical to the story.

    As one writer to another (even if our storytelling mediums differ), I have to say, you are SO not alone in this. I’m a firm believer that first in order to create characters which are alive for the readers, they first have to come alive in your mind. And in coming alive, they have to develop their own unique voices and personalities, and they have to be allowed to develop how they want, and not how we as the writers want.

    A novel I’ve been working on, I’ve had several false starts on it that just kept dying about 10-15 chapters into the manuscript. The plots started falling apart and the characters ceased developing. It wasn’t till I scrapped everything into the trash and began completely fresh (right down to several revised character concepts and names) for NaNoWriMo ’03 that it started clicking. I stopped worrying about just about everything except word count, and what that wound up doing was free the characters from my intense examination, and they developed in ways I never would have considered…and they came to life at long last.

    People who don’t write tell me I’m nuts for saying that, that I as the writer am in complete control, and they’re just words on paper that do what I tell them to do. I say writers are a little bit mad for a reason. ^_^

    Now, about this…

    (Note: Most of the best scripting moments for Schlock Mercenary are plumbing-related — the bath, the shower, or the can.)

    I can also toss in driving in the rain and washing dishes. I suspect it’s not so much plumbing-related as it is the water itself. It seems that when I’m doing something which involves a sizeable amount of water, like showering or washing dishes or even driving in the rain, I wind up with some pretty intricate and incredibly, incredibly evil ideas for things to throw at characters, in books and RP alike. ^_^

    I call it the Water Muse. It’s an extra-potent varity of Muse, but it only comes out around the water.

  3. It is a regrettable fact that in this bustling age we live in, with constant demands on our attention, the can is one of the few places we get left alone to listen to our thoughts…..
    Unless one has bought the handy-dandy toilet roll holder with built in AM/FM radio…

  4. Living characters

    Although I’m not an author (yet, still waiting for a good story to visit me) I have dealt with plenty of self-thinking characters through that great hobby, Role Playing Games. In fact, in one game that I’m currently participating in my character (one of my favorites and one I’ve been playing for about 7 years) is most likely going to die. The only frustrating part is that I can see several rather easy ways out of his situation. The problem is that I know that he would act a certain way, so I’m going to let him. Sometimes giving your characters personalities of their own kinda sucks, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  5. Heh.

    Never fails, does it? My friends and I refer to that particular process as “Porcelain Thought Amplification.”

    (Hi! I’ve friended you because I enjoy Schlock so very much.)

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