When I started writing my first novel I had the story and a lot of the scenes planned and ready to be locked into words but as I moved from chapter to chapter the characters evolved from mere one dimensional figures into someone about whom I knew in depth. They seemed to have a life of their own. Sometimes when I gently nudge them in the direction I want them to go, they don’t. They get there sooner or later after meandering through a couple of bylanes which is very exciting and surprising. Sometime their meandering takes awhile and that makes me impatient and frustrated.
So what did I learn, you ask ?
- The characters should drive the story
When we want to make the story move forward we sometimes make the mistake of letting the plot take center stage. It doesn’t bode well for the character because in simple terms it is the difference between a character doing something of their own accord and a character being coerced to do something. It deprives the character of its natural ability to grow. So the mantra is character- driver seat, plot- back seat.
- Point of view
Often we can make the mistake of telling the story only from the point of view of one character which allows the reader to look at only side of the coin. Alternately we can also make the mistake of recounting each scene from the POV of both the characters which can get repetitive and doesn’t allow the reader to read between the lines. Striking a fine balance between the two is crucial.
3) Sustain the interest
The most important part of any story is the emotional connection one establishes with the reader. Despite knowing that the hero and heroine are going to end up together it is important to plant the seed of doubt that they might not be able to work things out. That keeps the readers invested in the story till the end.
There are other pitfalls that you might encounter along the way but the thrill of penning the last word of the story make it all worthwhile.