How do you handle situations where you have two different ways a character can go? Right now, I’m sitting on a plot line where one of my characters is sitting at a crossroad. He can either choose to help the people he cares about or leave them to their own devices in order to save the bigger group. I’m not sure where to go. Every time I write one way, I wind up getting frustrated and turning back to that one point. What should I do?
I think this might be a good opportunity for you in your writing. You’re standing at the edge and the path you choose will change the course of your characters’ lives and reality permanently. Write down how you feel. Jot down notes as you try to weigh out the pros and cons. Talk about how conflicted you feel and be specific. When you’re done, write those notes into your story. I’m not kidding. How you’re feeling right now is exactly how your character should be feeling and it is an incredibly relatable.
Now, about how to handle this particular situation. I can’t help you there. How you choose to write your story is your own. Ask yourself, which would you choose? What would you do and what would the consequences be? Would that be as interesting as the alternative?
Probably the best thing you can do is write out what would happen in both cases. Write two divergent stories and pick the one that looks better. I’ve had to do this a few times. In fact, my library is full of divergent stories where characters didn’t save someone or chose a path that led them into darkness.
In Magnfica, I actually have another follow up novel to ‘Tears of the Fallen’. It was an alternate to Gravestalker. In the book, Lia’na didn’t sacrifice herself to save Toby. She watched him die and wasn’t able to stop the bad guy from gaining ultimate power. As a result, the cult that had infiltrated the highest branches of world government were never exposed, and the bad guys essentially won.
Lia’na and her friends escaped, but were constantly on the run, seeking shelter with whatever friendly resistance groups they could. Eventually, they were able to recover the Magnifica and discovered an enchantment that would allow them to relive one moment in time. However, each enchanter could only use this once.
Lia’na then set out to find someone… anyone with enchanter attributes that she could teach how to use the Magnifica. Eventually they find someone, rescue them, and after several struggles to keep that person safe and teach them how to create the enchantment, Lia’na is able to go back and possess her previous form to do what she’d previously been unable to.
Obviously, none of this actually happened. Lia’na sacrificed herself to prevent the bad guy from achieving the power he wanted. Toby survived and spent the next book trying to discover a way to revive Lia’na.
I’ve thought about releasing it from time to time, but it wouldn’t make much sense now. So it sits in my library, perhaps for future reference.
Back on topic, I really think that would help you. Write out a couple of different scenarios and choose the one that makes the most sense for you. Who knows, you may wind up with more than one story to publish!
Readers, what do you think? Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you handle it? Leave a comment and let’s keep the conversation going!
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I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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Catch you on the flip side!