Dear Dead Beat,
I read your comments on characterisation with interest.Here's another question - Sometimes, especially toward the middle of a story, I find myself stopping, almost afraid to continue. I wonder why this is.
Typically, my story has started out strongly, I am really into the character, what he/she thinks, loves, likes, does, believes. I usually know how the story is going to end, it's just so hard to find the way to move my characters to that endpoint.
I wonder, is it possible for a writer to care too much about a character or characters,and therefore, allow his/her writing to become paralyzed? Do you have any theories about this? I'm writing short stories, as I have no novel ideas yet, or at least, nothing that could be spun into a novel-length treatment. I love short stories and I would like to succeed at it, but this problem has me stumped...
stuck-in-the-middle(apologies to Stealer's Wheel)
Dear Stuck-in-the Middle,
You should know by now that Dead Beat has a theory about everything.
Is it possible for a writer to care too much about a character or characters? I guess it could be. I often hear this being said - especially in writing workshop situations. However, I sometimes think this is a misinterpretation of what is happening within the writing process. Plot is not as simple as it seems. When it becomes hard to move characters towards the end point it usually means that the plot has not emerged fully - the sequence of events driving the narrative from start to finish has faltered somewhere - i.e. the events are not entirely present, or the wrong events have presented themselves.
It may be that the attraction towards the characters has distracted the writer from the plot aspect of the story - that too much emphasis has been placed on character development. In this case the writer needs to acknowledge that enough work has been done on characterisation for now and that more work needs to be done on developing the narrative - on working out the plot.
Remember good old Chandler - when the plot flags, bring out a man with a gun.