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Author Topic: Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.  (Read 971 times)

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.
« on: August 07, 2016, 07:07:46 AM »
Just wanted to ask the field to see if anyone has any lessons learned from making major plot changes mid-stream?

Did you find that major changes in plot cause a total re-write? Did you find all your top-level structure/planning ended up useless? (assuming you use such plans)

I am accustomed to planning things in advance in rough, adapting as I go, but the changes I am considering are making me nervous. This is not a minor change like "Dorothy's Ruby Slippers will be ... mandarin orange!", but more like "Actually, we're going to discover the Wicked Witch is a good witch, and now we have to get her a house-proof hat. We may need to let the Tin Man rust."

Background: I was stalled for a week and just realized that the reason is my direction is flawed and I need to shift the major plotline.

The narrative is 82K into what I hope will be a 115K novel (pre-edit, which I expect will trim 10%). My structure is relatively balanced. This novel is about a young would-be wizard who intends to join the premiere wizard school, which is a darker organization than he realizes.
Intro & Prologue: 1.1K
Part I: 18.K Basic Journey; major misadventures, plan blown to smithereens
Part II: 49.3K Arrival at unintended but excellent destination; grueling trials; general education and sorcery training
Part III: 13.4K (35K planned) Training interrupted; unexpected expedition to kill a demon
Ending: 5K (planned)

My intention is to change Part III by adding intrigue and a close encounter with a rebel faction, the revelation of a ruse, and then the ruse turning out to be real - as awkward as it sounds I think it will work. The issue I have is I don't think I can do all that in the 25K I have allotted for it. Well, actually the issue is the idea of such changes scare the bejeesus out of me.

Any insights or experience with these kinds of things is welcome.

-Gem Cutter
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Quill

Re: Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2016, 09:10:55 AM »
From what I can tell, the only thing that will change is that part 3 will be longer than planned? Unless there is some reason why your novel cannot exceed the intended length, I don't see how that will be a problem at all. About 100k after edits is not much for a novel, I'd say that's on the skinny side anyway.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2016, 09:28:07 AM »
Extra room would be amazing.  I get spun up a lot when my plan gets messed with, even a little.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline cupiscent

Re: Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2016, 12:45:51 PM »
My general rule is that in a first draft you do whatever you like (as long as whatever you like keeps you moving forward). If your new inclusions in part 3 end up being way bigger than there's room for, that's what revisions are for. At that stage, you may find out that those unexpected inclusions are a bigger part of the book than you realised when planning, and you need to shift around your narrative to give them more space. Or you may find that you can fold them into the broader narrative more than it seemed in first draft. Or something else. Revisions are magical like that.

Last first draft I wrote, I hit heaps of stuff in the final third that wanted/needed to be way bigger. I crammed it into the space I had (that being narrative space, not word space - I needed all of it to fit between Big Plot Points 14 and 15), but appended lots of notes for revision time about spreading it out over the whole book better. That's a headache for future-me, but she'll be ok. That lady's pretty smart, and she'll have a lot more perspective on the whole thing than present-me does.

Online Peat

Re: Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2016, 03:42:13 PM »
Apologies if this is too dismissive, but if the big change only majorly affects what you have to write going ahead, then you're okay. Changes that will force you to substantially rewrite the bit you've already written are the real nightmare.

As Tanniel said, you can totally just stick those extra words in. It sounds like you're fine.


Anyway. Yes, there have been some fairly major rewrites on my part before. That wasn't when I planned a lot though and my lesson from that has been to work very hard on my planning. I wrote one book pretty much to the beat of the 12 chapter Mystery formula; I sat down and read though books writing down what happens in terms of advancing the story. Understanding just how much story you'll need is one of the hardest things of all imo.

Offline Deads

Re: Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2016, 04:07:31 PM »
I am, by no means, an expert.. However, I'm going to agree with the general sentiment here.. Just keep writing!  If the balance seems off, you can adjust in later drafts. Just get the story down.

I've had issues crop up mid draft that caused me to scrap the draft completely, but each time, it was because I hadn't planned right, or hadn't developed characters enough. I think you'll be fine!

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Mid-Story Changes: Big ones. With consequences and in-laws.
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2016, 04:37:35 PM »
Cool. Confidence restored, which of course means I will lapse into overconfidence in the next 48 hours.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell