I’ve been thinking lately about Michelle’s advice re my characters being reactive as opposed to active. At least that’s what they were in my original synopsis. I never really thought about this before – of course they were active, they were walking and talking and making decisions, right?
But that is not being active. They didn’t take charge of the story. They sat there and waited for stuff to happen to them.
I found this happened with chapter 1 of my re-write. I was feeling unhappy with what I’d done and I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. And then the light dawned: my hero was looking at the heroine waiting for her to come to him. The heroine was looking at the hero, too bound up in her conflict to actually take that step. The consequence was lots of staring but not much doing. No action at all. What needed to happen was one of them needed to act.
Had to be the hero – my mountain climber wouldn’t stand around staring, he’d get out there and get what he wanted. So this my hero did. He got out and took charge of the scene, making the heroine have to act intstead of her just sitting there waiting for something to happen. And it’s a much, much better scene now. It has movement. It’s more pacey. And sets off a whole chain of choices and actions that bring both characters slap bang up against their internal conflict. Phew!
Anyway, this kind of thing is new to me so I’m going to have to keep thinking about it as the book progresses. I have to say, being conscious of having your story flow from the choices your characters make, certainly makes things more dynamic. Which for me – a very waffly writer – is a very good thing. And it makes me more certain than ever that they were right to reject my earlier manuscript. The first half was so slow compared to the second half! Nothing a complete re-write wouldn’t fix however. 😉
Okay, I’d be interested to hear what anyone else thinks of this. Any insights?