*bash* *bash* ...oh

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 01:54 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Writing: The process of banging your head against a brick wall until one of you falls down, and the blood drops fall in such a way as to form words.


I have figured out that one of the problems with the fighting-me-every-step-of-the-way final chapter is that I didn't know the antagonist's motivation. Specifically, there's an action X that's been bandied about in earlier chapters as a possibility, an action that she does not ultimately take. I know that she doesn't take action X; it would be wrong for the story, and it would be wrong for her character. But why doesn't she take action X? Why doesn't she take action X?

Five minutes after recognizing this question, I had the answer. And shortly after that, I had a small chunk of new dialog, and the necessary bit to make all the other bits of the scene fall into the order they should obviously be in. And not long after that, there was the opening scene of the chapter, neatly done.

As always, it helps a lot to ask the right questions.

The next bit that's being sticky involves two characters having an awkward conversation, which is difficult because awkward conversations are. I already suspect that I will not manage to imply certain characterization-related things as gracefully as I had hoped, but oh well. Forward momentum.

The next sticky bit after that is going to bring me back to the antagonist's motivation again. I know what happens and what kind of scene it's going to be; I know what she does and why. But I don't know what she thinks about it, and I'm going to have to, even if only a fraction of that comes through in the actual writing.

The last time I got stuck like this on an end scene, I tried writing it from the POV of a different character and then re-wrote it to match the POV of the rest of the book, and it helped a lot. I'm not going quite that far this time, but I did run some lines through the brain to clarify how the antagonist is seeing the scene.

And I discovered something interesting, which the end of that last sentence hints at.

The Haley novel is written from the single POV of the protagonist, in close-ish third person past tense. I like it that way, I'm comfortable with it. But if I were to write a scene from the POV of the antagonist, it would have to be in present tense. Because that's the way she thinks. Even though the entire book, as written, is in past tense. Even though I'm generally not keen on present tense, and certainly don't generally write in it. Huh.

There's a wealth of information about the antagonist's mind-set, in this. How she thinks of her role in the world, how she looks at the past and the future and her place in them. How, perhaps, she maintains herself in a very contradictory set of circumstances.

And hopefully, how she's going to get through this last scene, because it needs to get written, dammit.

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