I've written myself into a hole.

It's not a big hole. More a ditch, really. Shallow grave size at the most. I hope.

In the rough draft of my WIP I had a character do something I needed him to do. Fine. No problem. He did it and he didn't bitch about it. Much.

But now I'm in rewrites and I'm finding that he doesn't have a whole lot of reason for doing it. I need him to do it, because if he doesn't everything kind of falls apart. But he's looking at me and shrugging his shoulders and asking why.

The crux of the problem is that I don't know him as well as I need to. So now I'm spending a lot of time staring into space trying to figure him out because I don't have a strong enough reason for him to do it. It's good, and important and ultimately will make the whole thing work better. But it's still goddamn irritating.

How about you? What holes have you written yourself into? Accidentally killed off a character you needed twelve chapters later? Stick your protagonist into a terrible situation and find you have no way to get her out? How about destroying that one important clue in a house fire and realizing too late that to fix it you have to completely rethink the last half of the book? You know, the 420 pages you thought you were so brilliant.

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and realizing too late that to fix it you have to completely rethink the last half of the book? You know, the 420 pages you thought you were so brilliant.


nyah nyah nyah, I can't HEAR you nyah nyah nyah.

(otherwise, just what the hell are you doing in my head, and I'm charging you RENT, buddy)
"How about you? What holes have you written yourself into? Accidentally killed off a character you needed twelve chapters later? Stick your protagonist into a terrible situation and find you have no way to get her out? How about destroying that one important clue in a house fire and realizing too late that to fix it you have to completely rethink the last half of the book? You know, the 420 pages you thought you were so brilliant."

Yes.

That's me all over.
I have written myself into a place where I don't want my protagonist to be as bad as she should be. I now want her not to do the dirty deed. This is a real problem cause it's too dark for literary and not dark enough for crime. Maybe I can introduce horroe elements. Which way to go.......HELP. Oh, sorry I already asked for it last week.
I have constantly worried that I somehow inhibited the natural flow of my story because I outlined it/had characters do something I needed rather than something they "thought" of. That was my biggest problem with that character I think of as repressed.

I can't say I've written myself into corners, because I'm still working on the first novel I've ever written, but earlier drafts WERE too tame. I didn't push the characters hard enough, have truly visceral things happen to them that explained their motivations.

By the way, while trying to figure out that one character's "pivotal" event in his backstory, I realized he had none. He led a rather charmed, very sheltered life till he became a cop. Now he sees all kinds of crap, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. This story IS his first "pivotal" event, as opposed to the other 2.
Gosh, golly, gee, no. That never happens to me, Stephen. My novels spring, fully-formed, all paced perfectly with a nicely tucked together wrap up, from the endless reservoir that is my muse. Even the punctuation's spot on first time around.
Um, is that sarcasm? Cause the smart ass in me isn't sure.
Sarcasm?
On the upside: For those of you who read BAPM, you might remember a scene where John Harper finds himself on a street with bad guys approaching from either corner trapping him in between.

This was an accident. First, it was a cliched situation, seen it a billion times. But it was where we were and there wasn't much I could do about it.

I didn't want him to fight his way out of this, because I'd seen that done a billion damn times, too. So I thought about my character's strengths. What could he do that was unique to him and not a scene I'd watched on TV?

And from there I wrote what my editor and a few readers have told me was the best scene in the book.

And it all came from writing myself into a corner.
That was definitely one of the coolest scenes in the book, David. Something all musos have fantasized about at one time or another. Remember that scene from Crossroads (NOT the Britney Spears version)?
1) Book #1: Had to totally eliminate one of the key protagonists (I was alternating
POVs, and it wasn't working.)

2) Book #1: Turned a draft of a "literary" book into a mystery (the earlier version
was too passive, had to make it more active)

3) Book #2: Had to again change my multiple POVs into one singular POV.

4) Book #2: Had to eliminate some sections that occurred in the past.

Luckily I didn't face these kinds of serious problems with Book #3, so maybe I'm
learning. Looking back at my missteps, I'm amazed that I'm a so-called
professional novelist!

Good luck with mining your character. I do think it's essential that you develop
his motivation. You don't want to be moving him around like a stick figure.
This is exactly the problem I have with all my work. I write it, then I go back and realise that there's just no motivation for a particular action, and the reader just won't buy it. I do find that after some thought, it's often possible to fix the issue with a single, carefully crafted, well-placed sentence.

Or maybe the real trick is to write a novel that's so filled with holes no one will notice. Seems to work for Jerry Bruckheimer.

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