so much fun but i'm pooped out

nerd-most-likely  asked:

So I'm writing a novel. You know how it's just best to poop out the first draft basically ASAP? Well I'm writing and now that I'm getting to the end of it, somehow I find out much to my own damn surprise that it's actually in first person of this prophet who's fault it basically is for every ounce of the problems protagonist and crew have had. I've been writing in what I guess was assuming it was third person. Is this weird? Or do I need to go back and rewrite at what was a 3 am sleep drunk?

Isn’t writing fun? 

This is not weird at all. In fact, it’s completely normal. I’ve been working on my novel for a good three years now, and my current antagonists used to be the good guys. And my former antagonist became a good guy, and then became ambiguous, and then kind of became a bad guy again. Obviously things can change drastically as you’re writing a novel. 

But sometimes you just gotta roll with these punches and find intrigue in it. Our creativity ebbs and flows, and it’ll go in directions we don’t expect. One way I find enjoyment in it is being able to look back at where I started and see how far I’ve come. The journey our stories go through act like journals of our writing progress, without us actually having to journal. Won’t it be fun in years ahead to look back and see where your story began?

I don’t think you have to rewrite something just because it didn’t turn out how you expected. But you may have to take the time and see if you “come to your senses” or if this new direction is in fact the new direction. Was it a temporary moment of sleep-deprived insanity? Or was it a new idea germinating, only needing some encouragement from you to grow?

Considering you asked this question several weeks back (my apologies), I’m sure you might know by now how you feel about it. Who do you think the protagonist is? The prophet? Or the ones the prophet is causing problems for? What’s more, are you dealing with an “evil protagonist,” or do you think the motives or your prophet have changed to the point where this character is not the evil one, but the other characters are

In my little personal story up above, I mentioned that my antagonists changed throughout my writing, and this was a result of my exploring their motives more. Originally, they were simply background support for the protagonist. When I thought about why they were helping my characters stop the antagonist, it all came across as really self serving, and a lightbulb hit me late at night and I took their self serving motives and actually made them into malicious motives. And a new antagonist was born. And they were far more interesting as an antagonist than as background support for the protagonist. It was a huge change, but it excited me, so I went with it. 

So @nerd-most-likely, I think you should evaluate the motives of your characters to see what it is they really want. Once you can clearly state what each side wants, try to figure out how those wants affect the other side, and then further, what they will do about it. For example, what does the prophet want? And how exactly do those wants create chaos for your other characters? You alluded to it a LOT of chaos for those other characters, but was it intentional? What is the prophet going to do it about now? Try to help them, or continue to create more problems? 

Once you have that detailed out, look at it from the other perspective. What do those other characters want? In this case, solving all the chaos the prophet created could be part of it, and in achieving that goal of solving the chaos, is the prophet affected? Do they have to “defeat” the prophet to resolve the problems? 

Through this process, you might discover that both sides are truly at odds with each other. One side needs the other to fail in order to succeed. <<When this becomes true of your story, you’ve defined a protagonist/antagonist dynamic. Now you just have to decide which is which.

There’s potentially two stories you can tell here. The prophet’s story, and how the other characters’ actions affect that story; and the story of the characters, and how the prophet’s actions affect that story. You get to decide which one appeals to you more. Regardless of who the “evil” one is, you get to choose whose story sounds most fascinating. Even if the prophet is the one in the wrong, that story could be the better story. There’s no rule that says you can’t write stories from the perspective of the villains. You might even decide to write from both perspectives, so readers see both sides of the story and have to decide for themselves whose side they’re going to take in the end. 

As far as point of view goes, switch to first person if that feels more comfortable for you. I’m a huge advocate of staying in your comfort zone with point of view, and only challenging yourself if it’s something you want to do. It’s unusual for a story to use both first and third person perspectives, but it’s not non-existent. Storytelling is about experimentation, so experiment! 

I hope this was helpful! You are certainly not alone in dealing with drastic story changes as you’re writing. As frustrating as it can be to back track and change things you’ve already written, it’s also kind of cool to see the way our creativity…creates things. It’s not instantaneous - it’s a process that requires patience, and sometimes you have to put the pause button on “focus” because the attention span of creativity can be next to nothing. 

So just go with it! Good luck with your story :)

-Rebekah