Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Choices, Choices

This is for plotters and pantsers alike.

When you get to a turning point in your story and a choice needs to be made (Does she get in the car with him or insist they walk? Does he tell her he's a werewolf or keep it a secret a little while longer? Should she take the red pill or the blue one?) how do you decided which way to go? What if it's an option you're not entirely comfortable with? As a writer, are you interested to see where that path leads?

Have you ever made a choice that didn't work out? Or maybe one that worked out better than you'd expected? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


  1. You're going to hate me for my answer.

    I have a 3 ring bnder with the story I'm working on and I will write it out in there. I'll block out each GMC for the scene for each different situation and I then think about how it would affect the rest of the story and decide which way I want to go.

    Yes, I'm anal. I'm sorry.

  2. Great topic, Kristen. Writing, like life, is all about choices. I've made some monumentally bad ones in both cases, but so far, it's all worked out. Lucky for writers, though, if we make a poor choice in our stories, we don't have to live with them. Gotta love the delete key.

  3. Funny thing is that I don't make those choices. For instance, in my latest short story, the hero (who's a demon) chooses to tell the heroine (who's a hunter) that he's a demon when they're being attacked by hunter wanna-bes. He also reveals the secret which explains why the heroine never detected that he was demon when they met. Why did he do it? I don't know. He had his mind set on this.

    Maybe the story would have turned out different if the hero had chosen another time to disclose all this. Maybe he wouldn't have needed to tell her at all. Yeah, I thought about that. And sure, the story would have turned out differently. But this story specifically, the hero wanted to confess at that moment. And who was I stop him? *lol*

    Usually, after I finished reading my own stories, and realize that maybe the hero or heroine could have made different choices, what I do is use those ideas in other stories.

  4. I like to uncork a bottle of vintage wine. Pour myself a hefty portion and down it before going for a second helping..then I think to myself...hummmm, which way should I go? Of course I always choose the wrong way....LOL

    Actually, my characters dictate where they want to be. I only reveal secrets when I think the readers have been tortured enough. It's a tough call..but there's always the editing process!

  5. I have to say I am of the..."You did what? Why? Why would you do that?!" variety of writers. I sort of know what I want when I start-but their decisions within the confines of the little stage I've set are entirely their own-and often surprise the heck out of me.
    Honestly, I wish I was a little more like Eva. :)

  6. Hmm, maybe that's what my stories are lacking...I seem to have a bit of a one track mind, the choices are already made before I start writing...maybe I need to leave some of those choices unmade so I'll have to agonize over which way to go.

  7. I would say flip a coin - though that does work sometimes.

    I'm becoming more of a plotter, though no matter how much I plot, either my brain, a stroke of inspiration, the characters, creativity - will lead me down a different path or to a fork in the road.

    If it's a different path - I go for it. If it's a fork - I mini-plot/plan out each instance and see which one will hopefully make for a better story.

    And if that doesn't work I ask my cp for input.

  8. I'm afraid like Eva, I'm anal, too. I plot and outline my whole story before I start to write. The only changes I might make as I'm writing are usually minor ones that don't affect the outcome of the story.

  9. I (aka my characters) regularly make a choice that doesn't work out. This is why I have to rewrite my stories so many times. I'm starting to think I should write certain scenes both ways, just to save myself the anguish of going back later on.

  10. Ooh, ooh! I once wrote 150 pages of a romantic suspense story and I knew exactly what was going on and what the characters were doing and nobody could tell me anything.

    Then my villain decided to let me know he was actually the hero. So, even though I didn't see it, I took it in his direction. That manuscript got me my first contest win and my first editor request.

    So now I always try really hard to let the characters guide me. As long as I keep my mouth shut and let them drive, we're all happy.

  11. Sigh...I'm a total pantser, and have just written my way into a corner. Luckily, I can back out of it, since I'm only about 500 words deep, but dammit, I LIKE the corner, and the choices the heroine will have to make. Now...how to get her out without sacrificing the integrity of the story! LOL