Yes, some of my initial plans have changed along the way. If they hadn’t, I would just be connecting the dots, and that would drive me mad. Some writers are architects and some are gardeners, and I am in the second camp. The tale takes on a life of its own in the writing.
— George R. R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire (interview)
Meanwhile, and concerning an immensely inferior writer, my NaNoWriMo novel is at 42 030/50 000 words after 19/30 days of writing, and while for the first 10 000 words I was an architect, rapidly after that my characters started doing unexpected things, and I slipped into gardening, then trying to whack the tentacle-shoots and corpse-flowers into some kind of an order when they gained a twisted half-life of their own — oh, and have I mentioned that reading a lot of and about Lovecraft while writing this has had an effect on it?
Well, the changes escalated: my original backstory idea became something the story danced around and then stomped on, and it became just a (so far) quite unimportant detail of the whole. Then a tertiary character introduced on a whim to mouth a few lines of exposition suddenly revealed herself as the chief antagonist, conspirator and plot-mover of the thing. Then a secondary character whose purpose was mostly to be “Obnoxious Neighbor #1″ went and did a Suicide by Protagonist; and my protagonist spent uncomfortable (to himself, to writer, to any reader, too) lengths wondering whether he’s a) caught in some really sick shit, b) going insane, or c) involved in a Candid Camera show with a Licence to Kill. (Hint: it’s the first one. It would be cheap to write 50 000 words of something and then say it was all a moon dream. But the c-alternative — well, maybe I should some day try to cook something like Truman Show meets Running Man meets… hapless grad students in a world of horror!)
Some things fall into place quite nicely if you just avoid resolving them until there’s only one choice left; for an example…
Oh, shoot. I just had an epiphany.
Writing is really nice when it clicks; the prose you’re going through is not quite what you find in a published book, but you’re the first one to see it, and that’s veddy nice. (It’s a Choose Your Own Story for people with too much free time; that’s what amateur novelling is.)
Namely I was just going to say that “if you just avoid resolving the fate of a certain character that disappeared a few weeks before the point the telling of the story began, you will find she’s the only one that can be present and active in a certain looming situation ahead”, and I was going to say after that that “Worrisomely, in my troublemaking not-quite-Satanist cabal of evil mathematics professors — and isn’t that a great plot device? — I have one that may or may not be a part of it, and while my protagonist doesn’t know, I don’t know yet, either”.
Then it clicked that the maybe-sinister-professor was a much better fit for the spot and persona of the conflict-presenter. Now and supposing I write it that way all fits, all fits, except that I still have that missing character. (Well, she will no doubt turn up, or be dug up, or claw her way up, before the end.)
This is probably not the best way to write — but as it is all (primarily) for my own masturbatory pleasure, it works nicely.
And this has been your update on das Unaussprechliche Finnische Buch for today.