Sunday, March 23, 2014

Finding my Eddard Stark


((are they gone yet?))

Okay. Where were we?

I am roughly 32,000 words into my still untitled why work in progress first draft. Now, I consider my first drafts to be more like outlines than actually drafts. I'm not really planning ahead much. I'm just typing and seeing where the story takes me. I know while writing that most of everything I've written will probably be taken out or changed during revisions, but the point right now is to get a basic plot written out and to start figuring out who my characters are and where they are going. This works for me, or at least it seems to be so far. However, this style does have its draw backs.

Since I don't plan ahead, I periodically hit lulls where I'm just not sure where to go next. I also end up writing pretty shallow first drafts using this method, which is of course fine because that will be fixed in revisions, but it is also frustrating sometimes because I start to feel like the story idea itself is lacking something. When you don't take much time working out character development or plot lines ahead of time, you end up with a series of events just sort of strung together without much of a driving force. Or at least I do. Or I did. Right now.

I've gotten caught up with figuring out where point A and point B are and how to get from one to the other and as a result haven't been giving much thought to the true driving force behind my main story. So over the past few days I have been thinking about how to remedy this, and I've found a useful way of thinking about it that I thought I would share with you all!

I need my Eddard Stark. You see, Ned Stark is the center of everything. Yes there are multiple plots happening around him, all of which play an important role in the story, but for the most part everything revolves around him. He is sent to King's Landing to become the Hand of the King. He knows he must unravel the mystery of what happened to the previous Hand, and that he must figure out how the Lannisters are involved. He learns the truth about Joffrey, about Cersei and Jaime. His imprisonment starts his son Robb on the path to war with the Lannisters. Throughout the first book it is his search for answers, and his actions after discovering the answers, that keeps the story moving forward, steadily climbing towards the single event that sets everything into motion: his execution.

Ned being beheaded is a catalyst. It starts Sansa's story of being a prisoner in King's Landing, doing everything she can to keep herself alive even if it means marrying the boy who ordered her father's death. It starts Arya's journey north. It ends all possibility of a peaceful resolution between the Lannisters and Robb Stark.

I need my Eddard Stark. I need the storyline (or lines) that all other storylines revolve around; the center of the spider web; the driving force of the story. Thinking about it this way has helped me to decide which characters' storylines are trying to be this force, and how to expand them. Once I started thinking about it this way it became clear to me that two of my character's run parallel to each other, and that it is their journeys that will ultimately push my story forward. And now that I have started to figure that out I am even more excited to finish this draft and start revisions so I can realize this vision.

1 comment:

  1. Great, it's always good to have a sense of direction, and whose steering.