Cut that Baby in Half with a Sharp Penstroke
A few years ago, I created a truly evil villain; she was supremely pathological and committed to the Motherland. I had meticulously mapped out her role as a double, double dastardly evil agent. But, this month my writing slowed, I couldn’t work the plot. I was frustrated and dismayed.
Writers often talk of killing their babies, otherwise known as, removing a character who doesn’t fit or serve a purpose, someone you truly love but need to live without.
I eventually realized, then denied, but came back to: it was this character, who was slowing me down. I still think she was brilliantly planned but –can I blame Trump? Ivanka? Tillerson & Putin? No, while they were certainly creating havoc in my heart, they were not worthy of messing with my head-child (the book).
Rather than removing the character or killing her off. I explored the biblical approach. What if she were two characters? What if each of the two characters fulfilled their purpose without confusing the reader or worse, the writer? The realization was like a stormy week, and then that day when the rains finally stop and the first rays of sun break through a crack and shine on a patch of daisies -okay, not quite as dramatic but close, and maybe not daisies but forsythia.
As soon as I adjusted my character profiles in Scrivener and started writing on the new and improved path, progress was made, speed picked up and I was enjoying the process again. The lesson being, if it feels wrong, if you start dragging your feet, then reconsider where the problem actually lives. Of course, that doesn’t mean you stop writing, you just work on other chapters, ones that feel right until the clouds part and a practical muse yells down, “Split the Baby!”