Now some might say that’s a great thing. Those would be the pantsers who like to go with the flow in their writing. But I’m a plotter. I write suspense. I need to know what’s going to happen so I can put the clues in the right places. And not knowing what’s coming is starting to freak me out a bit.
It started with Winston. After having a minor role in my first book, Beltane, he’s taken centre stage as the hero in Lughnasa and he’s grown and grown. He’s a rather gorgeous archaeologist who just happens to be also a druid. But now he’s got flaws that I never saw coming. He’s late for everything, he’s got a really arrogant streak and an unexpected fondness for Glenfiddich. And he never does what I expect. I sit down to write a scene thinking ‘Okay, this and this have to happen’ and then Winston turns up and something else entirely actually unfolds.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have a few control freak tendencies. I like to be organised, I like to plan ahead. So Winston’s unpredictability is quite hard for me to handle. And now it’s spreading to the other characters and no one’s doing what I expect.
I realise to non-writers this probably sounds like a borderline personality disorder but I’m pretty sure that other writers will have experienced something like it. So what did you do? Did you give them their heads? Or did you force them back in line with your plan?
I realised how far we’d gone astray when I re-read the synopsis that I’d first mapped out about eight or nine months ago. There’s a small possibility that we may hit the same ending but the middle looks nothing like what I’d planned. And I don’t know what to do. Should I tear up the synopsis and see what happens? Or should I try to persuade them back on track? All advice will be gratefully received before I start tearing my hair out.
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P.S. Lughnasa is set in Orkney which is why I’ve included a few photos of the islands.