Grade A Top Choice Meat

No, Glen, not a hot waitress, not a flight attendent.

Today I’ve been thinking about choices characters make.

I’m currently planning through a story I refer to as TC.  On another day I’ll probably tell you some of the recent breakthroughs I’ve had on it.  I’ve got characters, I’ve got a loosely outlined plot, I’ve got the major scenes and why they happen.  Yesterday I did some work on making sure the ending was a follow-through from the beginning, rather than just something I threw on, you know, at the end.  That was more an exercise in working through the story as a whole.

This morning I started thinking about the ending itself.  I had in mind a fight between the hero and an old foe from his past.  And the old foe brings some friends along which up the stakes and makes the threat larger than just to the hero and heroine.

In my head it’s always been: Naturally, this, that, and the other thing happens.  The hero and heroine work together to save the day, get over their interpersonal issues, and live happily ever after.

No, wait.

Naturally?

Is that what I want to read?  What naturally happens?  If I already know what’s going to happen because it’s the natural and expected conclusion to what I set up–what’s the point of reading it?

So today I’m working on choices.  Choices that are difficult to make.  Choices that involve sacrifice and risk.  Choices that are effectively motivated by who the characters are and what they’ve done so far in the story.

It sounds obvious when you say it–ever notice that lots of things do?

Kettle and I tend to do a lot of choose your own adventure.  Meaning we get to a point where we have different options, different ways we could write a scene or different paths characters could take and we tend to give multiple choice options to each other: what do you think should happen next?

It occurs to me that we should make an effort more often to have the character ponder these decisions.  That we should work on making these choices more important, more difficult.

And that we should also continue making the effort to think of what _could_ happen next and find something interesting, rather than thinking in terms of what makes the most sense.  Because sometimes what makes the most sense also made the most sense in the last six books you read and is not the most interesting thing to read again.

I guess my thought for the day is that a lot of writing seems very straightforward and innate, but crafting a good story is…um…another story.

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