I’m a plotter. I have been since day one as an author. All the books I’ve written have been plotted, sometimes for years, so when I sat down to write it was all right there and flowed like wine downhill.
All except for one book.
One book in particular has been the bane of my existence ever since I began to write it over three years ago. The book is my Regency, To Woo a Wicked Widow, and it has led me a merry chase just to get it written down. Because every time I stared to write it, the characters would go absolutely crazy. Insisting they do this, not wanting to do that. Three of the main characters simply dug their heels in and said, “No. I don’t want to do that. And you can’t make me.”
And unfortunately, they were right.
Every time I tried to steer the plot or the character’s actions in a certain way, it came out stilted, or weird sounding, or didn’t make sense for them to be doing it. The hero insisted on a love scene in the library when it was not supposed to be there according to the outline. The heroine became too headstrong and made one beta reader dislike her intensely. And the bad guy kept finding ways to be likeable despite my instructions to the contrary.
As I said earlier, I am a plotter. But in this book, I came as close as I ever hope to be to being a pantser. It was extremely frightening to me to have the reins of the book jerked out of my hands and someone else calling the shots. Perhaps that is why I am still not satisfied with the end product of it. I’ve flipped the whole premise of the book around, I’ve managed to make the hero more heroic and the villain as dastardly as I possibly can. And I think readers will now sympathize with the heroine’s plight.
It still, however, doesn’t seem to be quite complete or jelled into the story I envisioned from the beginning. I suppose fighting with my characters, like fighting with a cast in a theatrical production, is bad for morale. I think the little voice in my head will prevail, but it is very difficult to make characters do your bidding if they don’t want to.
The only thing I’ve found that works is compromise. Take some of the good things they insist on doing and blend them with things that will accomplish the goals of the work as you see them. This is where I’m heading with my latest revision and (cross your fingers) it seems to be working!
Wish me luck!