As you’ve created your character outlines and began writing you’re story, something bizarre begins to take shape. This character, this creation you’ve toiled over for however long is behaving differently. The way the story beckons to be told has your character reacting in a way that may not be in align with her pre-determined personality. Remember, the point of the initial character outline is to point you in the direction of the final character outline.
Once you’ve begun writing, or even during think tank sessions, if the character begins to change in any way, make note of these changes in the outline. However, adjusting the outline requires more than deleting a few sentences.
How to Adjust
While the topic of adjusting character personality traits, careers or loved ones in order to create a better story is nothing new, many writers fall short in understanding valid and conclusive adjustments. Always remember this rule: Any alteration, elimination or addition to a character outline can affect a multitude of other characters and story plots.
Just like going back in time can dramatically alter the present, when you reach back into the life of this character and alter even the smallest of details, you could directly affect a host of events to come.
Whenever a change is made in the outline, review this change while considering the entire story. Does the change affect any references made through action or dialogue? Is a relationship altered in any way due to the adjustment? Has the change affected the socioeconomic, or social, status of the character.
In-Process Writing, Meet New Character Outline
A frustrating experience, yet simultaneously enjoyable, is having an epiphany about a very important element of the story. This stroke of genius takes your script to a new level, but sadly requires the first 50 pages you’ve written to be altered. While exciting as your story is adapting and changing, it’s also daunting.
When applying changes to previously-written text, take a look at the entire scene. What is the primary objective of this scene? How does this objective meet with the character/story changes? Can the scene be altered to better suit the story?
Don’t be afraid to completely rewrite scenes or chop them all together. So many writers are so egotistical about their own writing that they cannot fathom eliminating a masterpiece that was the scene between the main character and his auto mechanic. A great writer understands there are no amazing scenes. Rather, there is only truth. When truth is captured, every scene is a great scene.