Connect the Dots, Playing God, Sympathy for the Devil

If you haven’t gathered already, this week we’re talking about the three things we’re working on in our own writing. Personally I flip-flop almost daily on this. Some days it’s:

“How can so much brilliance come from one person?”

While other days it’s:

“Why do I even consider myself a writer? Every word on the page is crap!”

Usually it’s about the same piece of work, too. I’ll let you guess which thought happens more frequent. Sometimes when in that frame of mind, narrowing it down to only three things I need to work on is rough. So here are the top three I’m dealing with at the moment.

  1. Connecting the Dots (or when not to)
    When I’m writing in the moment, I find that the logic train sometimes skips tracks. In my head I know why the switch happened, but it doesn’t always make it to the page. At times I need to hold the hand of the reader to show them how my characters have come to their conclusions.
    Adversely, there are times when the reader gets it, and you just need to move on. You should never underestimate your reader. They get it. Trust them, or they won’t trust you.
  2. It’s Okay to Play God
    I write rather organically. I keep a vague notion of where I want the story to go, but allow the characters to act and react in the moment. This often leads to situations I didn’t plan on, along with outcomes that infuriate my beta readers.
    What I need to remember is that I can go back in time and change their outcomes. I know I wrote it one way, but it’s not chiseled in stone. It can be like Ground Hog’s Day on my laptop. I can write the events over and over again until I get the outcome that works the best.
  3. Sympathy for the Devil
    It’s so important that your readers form a connection with your main character. If they don’t have it, then there’s a good strong chance they won’t read your story or any future story you write, for that matter. A sad back story can’t do it alone, especially if said back story doesn’t happen until two-thirds into your novel.
    This becomes even more of a challenge when you’re writing an anti-hero like I am. He does bad things, but isn’t a bad guy. I have to make him likeable (or at least understandable) in order to keep my readers connected. If the balance is thrown off, it’s too easy for him to come off as a dick, and who wants to root for a dick?

So there you have it. The three things I’m working on at the moment. I love to hear what, if anything, you might be working on. Feel free to leave a comment or continue the conversation on Twitter under #3Things.

Be sure to see what Amy and Amy are working on, and don’t forget to check out this week’s Special 500 Club hosted by Dex Raven.

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