So, since last weekend, I’ve been spending something like 99.99% of my time studying for my NREMT test which is tomorrow but in the back of my mind, coiling and uncoiling, is the idea. The story is a living thing even though it’s just in its embryonic state. It’s still evolving and changing. And lately it has been doing a lot of that. Like I said last time about discovering my particular tempo for stories, figuring out what I actually have to say, I’m finding my previous idea for an action packed pseudo-Western to be increasingly untenable. This doesn’t mean that the entire thing is scrapped. I’m keeping all the character from the original idea, introducing some new ones, adding new elements to all of them, and putting a much higher emphasis on intense dramatic beats instead of action. So the idea is going from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to something that is going to play a lot with the characters and their psyche. One of the ways I like thinking about this is a dissection, or, considering how the characters are supposed to be convincing enough to pass for real people, a vivisection. The original idea would have had me going for the major arteries, making a mess with big arterial spurts of action. With the new direction, I’m more interested in layer by layer peeling back the tissue of these characters so that by the end, you’ll know them down to the very marrow. I’m also considering making three intertwining stories that may not seem immediately connected but that all intersect. I’ve actually two ideas on how they could do so though I’m going to have to wait for the characters to actually start making decisions to see which, if either, of the these two possibilities will come about. But before that, I’m still planning things out.
A possible character beat that really interests me is the person who turns on his ideals. This was done very well in Marc Laidlaw in The 37th Mandala and I’ve had the idea for a similar character bouncing around in my head ever since. I love the idea of a trauma turning a person 180 degrees in the other direction from what they originally believed in and were passionate about. Kind of like Pavlovian conditioning. If you pair pain with something pleasant, the originally pleasant stimulus gets polluted with negative overtones. Only this goes even further than that. I don’t know if I could make it work or if I’d be forcing such a character into the story but I’d love to be able work with that kind of pathos. One of the characters may actually lend himself very well to such a thing. The other two main characters I’m considering following are a bit more settled in who they are. Though, to be honest, nothing is really settled yet. It’s more like, the other two characters are farther along on the way to crystallizing in my mind. But that still leaves a lot of opportunity for change and surprises.
Luckily, the center, the main hub these spokes will revolve around is pretty much solidified in my mind. That was actually the first thing I really got. And I got it from a dream something like half a year ago. Thankfully I put it down in a dream journal and when I looked back on it, I realized it needed writing. It seemed like the time was right. It’s just a matter of figuring out what story wants to be told from this kernel of an idea. I am getting much closer to actually putting words to paper (or in my case word processor) and soon I’m going to finally get to see my planning and patience pay off.