Stuck on a WIP? We all know that feeling. The wailing about writer’s block, the staring at a white screen and a blinking cursor, the various snippets of the story that we just can’t seem to string together…
Arrows has come a long way from when it first started. So has The Woodsman.
The original plot for Arrows was about a guy having to team up with his missing wife’s ex in order to find her. Of all the characters that showed up throughout each version of this story, only a few have been kept.
(For those who’ve been following along with this story whether through me gushing about it to you or through writing camp…any guesses as to who the wife and ex were?)
The original plot for The Woodsman was about a widow and her daughter moving to a small town and meeting its’ legendary figure while also stepping into a mystery involving arson.
Yet, neither of those stories really ‘clicked’ with the original plots. Or maybe I was just lazy. All I know is that I don’t think Arrows really clicked until I started adding pro-life themes. The only draft I ever got written with the original version was what was supposed to be the third book.
I still have that draft, because I still like that plot, only now, that plot belongs to another pair of OCs who I took from the story idea they were originally the MCs of…and that story might get meshed with another one I worked on for a couple of years.
Then other plot elements began to change. Connor ended up being raised by both parents. Kelly was no longer an orphan. She and Christy now have a good relationship compared to the estranged one they had in Take My Hand when it was still a Matthews story. It turned into a multigenerational story.
I gotta say, I love the current version of Arrows.
As for The Woodsman…originally, Jonathan couldn’t speak due to being injured in the fire. Then one day, I played with a ‘what-if.’ What if he could still talk?
(He still has the other scars I gave him; the talking is the only physical thing that changed)
Boom, page and a half of dialogue between him and Nicki. After that, the plot started changing again. Right now, I’m playing with the idea of them already being married with kids when the story starts. And I gotta say…I love it.
As for the idea of a character not being able to talk, I ended up letting another character go through that. (Which, it could be part of my next top two stories to work on…I just have to sort through my bazoollian story ideas 😂)
Sometimes, it might take a while before the story ‘clicks.’ Sometimes, you might have to change a few things about the characters. Other times, you might have to change the whole plot.
It might seem annoying at first, but hey…you’re growing as a writer at the same time. Sometimes, you realize that what once worked no longer works or maybe it never did at all. Or maybe you tried to throw in too many aspects. Maybe they were unnecessary aspects. Maybe they were meant for a different story.
That’s kind of how I feel happened to The Woodsman; was the arson thing really that necessary? Taking it out hasn’t affected Jonathan’s arc at all. Nicki’s arc on the other hand has always been a bit difficult to figure out, even when she was Amber and Leslie. But now I think I have it. 😉
It’s sort of the same with the characters from Arrows. The character arcs are somewhat intact from the originals; though now that I think of it, Kelly’s may have actually changed the most. Originally, her arc involved sibling estrangement; now it involves…wait, spoilers.
And Ariel is…well, let’s just say her role has changed. No spoilers. 🤐
So, what are your thoughts? What makes your story click into place?
P.S. On an unrelated note, I revived a western I have and the male MC is now a Pony Express Rider. Thanks, Boston Pops and maybe Young Riders too.