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What do you want?

Some writers plot every minute detail of their story before they begin writing. Others sit down with an idea and see where their characters take them. I’m kind of in between. I know how my story is going to end. I know the major plot concepts. And I outline my story structure. But, I tend to let the characters in the story run the show. Oftentimes things will come up that I never planned to write about and the story will take a different twist for certain characters.

There’s a problem though.

Sometimes what the characters do makes no sense.

I have found this to be my greatest struggle on the sequel to Soul Yearning. I had the same problem with Soul Yearning though. When I completed it, every chapter seemed to logically flow for me. But readers felt like the story plodded a bit, and the main character was too passive. So, I sat down with my main character and started asking some important questions starting with “What do you want most”.  That was followed with a lot of “why’s” until I found his core value and motivation. When I rewrote Soul Yearning, the story changed a ton, and the response from readers was completely different.

Which brings me to NANO. This time around I know what my main character wants. But I realized that the villains (and there’s quite a few with an entire pantheon to choose from) actions were making little sense. If I could see through that, a reader certainly would.

So, I sat down with my villains and started asking the same question. What do you want? I was fascinated by how diverse those villains were and how their core value and motivation would influence their actions. The picture started to coalesce. I could see where I was headed and now I knew a bit better what I needed to do to get there.

And that makes it much easier to write. So, how about you? What do you do to ensure that your story makes sense?


About Will Ramirez

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God's Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the the last 17 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his coming debut novel, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning. He lives in Central Florida with his bride of seventeen years and their four children. Since 2010, he's been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team of Word Weavers of Orlando. He is currently working on the second book of the Godslayer series as well as The Unspoken, book one of a dark fantasy trilogy. In the land of Adme, powerful beings rule as deities and compete with one another for followers. But when a young priest is revealed as the prophesied godslayer, the pantheon unites to destroy him.

One comment on “What do you want?

  1. Ohh, interesting. I don’t have the problem of not understanding my characters’ actions, so much, as I have it all muddled up. I’ve given them too many desires and motivations. I have to go through and pare it down until it’s a lot more clear. I especially do this badly when I’m pregnant or nursing and my mind’s not working very well. :-p

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