Write Your Own Script
It never fails. I’ll spend a week or more outlining a storyline, determining what I want to happen in each chapter and with which characters. I did this recently with Surrender,which will come out in 2013. Virginia Hart is soon to be divorced from her cheating husband and the plan is for her to meet Jaron Towers, a member of the Society of Thorns, for some new adventures. Virginia’s friend, Jacklyn, talks her into going to a night club so that she can meet a lawyer from her firm for some private practice. It is here in my outline Virginia meets Jaron for the first time. However, I guess Pierce, Virginia’s husband, isn’t giving up because out of the blue, he’s at the same night club with his eyes on his wife. This is not how I planned it, but now I have to go with it.
Most writers will tell you that they run into the same conundrum. When you give characters life, they decide they want to live, and not necessarily the way you had planned for them. It becomes their story and they are going to tell it. Your general plot may remain the same, but the details of the journey will alter due to who the characters become.
I’d wager there are many parents out there feeling that way about their offspring. We see our children’s lives laid out before them and we have a vision in our heads of how we hope it all goes because we want the best for them and don’t want to see them struggle. Invariably, however, most follow paths we did not foresee and maybe didn’t even desire. Like my characters, in the beginning they’re pliable; able to be molded into whom we want them to be. However, as they grow they evolve more into their own character and begin to follow their own compass. They take over the writing of the script and, if we’re lucky, will ask us to consult on the upcoming scenes.
The truth is I can’t force my characters or my children to follow my outline for the future anymore than I followed my parents’ outline for me. While it can be downright frustrating at times and seem like a waste of ink, I’m glad they are each their own person. That’s what we raised them to be, individuals, and not blind followers of other people’s machinations.
This is your life and you are the one responsible for its script. You need to determine the direction your story is going to go and how you want to see it end. Don’t put others in charge of your destiny no matter how well intentioned those people may be. As my characters have to be true to themselves, so must you. When I force a character to do something that doesn’t fit with who they are it cheapens the scene and weakens the story. While they will grow and change throughout the novel, I cannot make them behave against their nature, no matter how much I may want them to, and make it work,
The same is true of you. When you allow yourself to be forced into something that isn’t who you are, it’ll weaken your story. You’ll be miserable and no matter how hard you try, you won’t be happy or fulfilled. Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t times we do things we don’t want for the benefit of others. Relationships call for sacrifices in order to succeed and follow a greater storyline. However, you cannot go against your character, the person you truly are in this life and your story. It’s your script, and you need to write it, making the needed changes that don’t contradict your nature.
So, it’s your narrative. Write it with your dreams in mind, rewriting as necessary, but making it the best story possible, one that will be on the Best Seller’s list of great tales. I look forward to reading it.
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