As a writer you often worry about what your character is supposed to feel.
You have created a situation in your story, where now the burden of taking it forward rests on the character. But as the creator, you feel all the angst that this character is feeling. You too are torn based on what this character will decide.
You don’t know which emotion to prioritise, because even though it is your creation, the decision will be the character’s alone.
And you have only created a character in a fictional story.
I wonder at times, if God sometimes too feels as powerless as us.
In my belief system, there is a higher power who is watching out for us. I don’t believe in hell, heaven or a day of judgement. I believe only if you have been able to live fully when you are alive. But like the characters, we are often faced with choices, even if we may like to believe that there was no choice. Do you think God feels as helpless as the author who has created the character, but now can’t surmise what it is going to do at this point?
But that is for another day. Here I want to talk more about the author’s inner struggle of crafting the story.
And it brings me to a non negotiable aspect of writing stories.
For every situation that my mind creates, I have one plausible ending in mind only- either it contributes to the larger plot, or it does not. If it does not, then it doesn’t need to be in your story.
That serves as a check for writers when they get carried away by the process. The situations can be sub- plots if they hint to a larger thematic representation of the story. They can also test if your character is worthy enough to solve a problem or not. The plot or situation should contribute to the overall narrative. As you write it down, at any point, you should know what aspect of the story you are building with this plot.
To understand that better, these questions will help you:
- Does this plot serve to show a trait of one of the characters that otherwise wouldn’t have been evident?
- Is this plot reminiscent of something similar from the past and leads on to show that history is something to be wary of?
- Are there any underlying aspects of a situation (tragedy, romance, sacrifice, betrayal, envy, anger) that shows the continuously evolving ethos of the universe?
If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then that situation deserves a place in your story.
Else save it as “Extra” in your story folder. Never waster written content. You never know it could serve as the prelude to something bigger later.