Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dude, Where's My Ending?

There are two basic questions I apply to plotting my novels: what if, and and then.

What if is easy for me. What if my main character falls off a bridge? What if he’s a daemon, droid, lycanthrope, mixed alien…well, you get the picture. I’ve been accused of having what if attitude sometimes when I should just go with the flow. But, what if something goes wrong? What if I’m late to pick my kids up from school? What if I don’t make the cut? What if I do? You see, art mimics life. I’m cool with my what ifs. I don’t see it as a pessimist’s perspective, but rather a path to preparedness.

And then, on the other hand, likes to wear me down. I hate to see it printed in a book. It’s one of my pet peeves. And then, he turned to her… or and then, they lived happily ever after? Just like that? Really? No mortgage. No sick kids. Okay. Must be nice. And then, I lost interest in the book.

But I do use and then to work out kinks. It plays devil’s advocate because what if can’t exist without and then.
For example:
What if, Harry Potter found out he was a great wizard? And then, he went to a school of magic. And then, he learned he had a formidable opponent, and then he faced this opponent and saved the day. Perfect.  For you see, the two go hand in hand, like Voldermort and Harry. One cannot live while other survives. They need each other. What if is my Harry, while and then is my Voldermort.

But here’s my dilemma. Lately brain has decided on a new deep-seated perversion of and then because of the movie Dude, where’s my car? I just can’t seem to shake it. Every time I think “and then,” my brain screams back at me, “NO, and then. NO, and then.” Even though idea making, if nothing else, is a veritable idea menu just waiting for me place my order. Darn you, Ashton Kutcher; you've ruined me!

What about you? Does something you've seen or heard ever muddle your brain?


  1. Awesome blog post, Demetra!! I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I can get bogged down by all of the different actions my character can take and then the reactions that happen because of them. Silly characters. Don't they know I'm the writer? I'm the one running the show here! :-P

  2. We have to make them listen...but how...mine are band of rebels! : )

  3. Many things muddle my brain. Great post.

  4. I agree this is definitely an awesome blog post. My characters refuse to listen to me too. That's why about a third of my blog is full of posts where my characters and I get in arguments.

    For the sake of clarity. I just started following your blog.

  5. Hi Danica! Thanks for following. I definitely have to check out those author vs. character smack-downs on your blog. That's pretty funny! '

    : )

  6. Hey girl! Fun post :-) I like to play the "What if" and "And then" game, too! I just have to know when to STOP playing it LOL