We all know that, if we were walk into a bar and have a drink, that that bar, the glass we drink from, the people we speak to, would still be there once our drink has been finished and we’ve left the room. People and places exist outside of our own sphere of existence. I know that. You know that. It’s just how the real world works.
So why, oh why, did I forget to do this in my writing?
This week I’m undertaking one of the most frustrating rewrites of my writing career to date. Seriously. Made even more frustrating because of the deadline I’m working towards and the fact that the rewrite could have been avoided entirely had I just paused to consider the lives of my characters outside that of my protagonist.
I forgot to include their own lives. I forgot to include all the issues they’re facing outside of their involvement with my main character. I basically forgot to make them rounded, three dimensional individuals and instead simply made them react to the primary plot. Hence the reason I am kicking myself.
You see, I’m undertaking a rather big structural rewrite. You may recall me mentioning that one character is being rewritten as a woman. What I haven’t yet mentioned is that the entire novel is being pretty much rewritten to evenly reflect the voices of three separate characters, rather than just one.
So why did I only focus on the plot of one of these characters?
Because I’m still learning. And I still have a lot to learn.
Thankfully I’m pretty confident on the backstory/sidestory/futurestory for all my characters, so I’m hoping it won’t take too long to rectify. I also have a very clever agent, who’s ideas I have shamelessly plundered.
And I can tell you this much: it’s not a mistake I’ll be making again.