RoE.d1.day53 – i just threw Herrick from a train
and now i’m having second thoughts.
the rush of the last few days’ writing hit a wall on Saturday. Herrick had managed to evade his pursuers with an unexpected decision, which is great for him. unfortunately, that decision also meant he was in a sort of box with no clear way out. thus, the reprieve was temporary, as the pursuers and reinforcements would surely return.
Herrick and i both struggled with this one. there seemed to be a few options, but even a quick examination revealed them as dead-ends in their own ways. i was genuinely at a loss. how could he get out of this situation? i was getting more and more worried that i’d boxed him in too well by following the rush without thinking ahead enough.
then Herrick’s world came back to life and gave me us answer.
i’d been focusing too hard on how Herrick himself would effect his escape and i had forgotten to keep an eye on the world at large. that’s the hallmark of a too-plotted story, i think: when the world in which the story takes place is seen only as backdrop. for me, this is rather like reading about characters in distress who never think of or worry about parents or siblings or children or whatever. those characters live in enclosed environments that are less satisfying to me.
sadly, this is also one of my own failings. not the part about forgetting family considerations, but not keeping the larger environment in mind and how it might impact the story (either to help or to hinder). i really enjoy stories and movies where the mundane world becomes less mundane, not because it becomes unusual, but because the usual elements become useful in ways not expected. the MacGyver Effect, so to speak. obviously, this can be taken too far*, but when it works, it’s a lot of fun and, strangely, increases my perception of the ‘reality’ of the situation.
so what about this ‘throwing Herrick from a train’ business?
well, he didn’t really earn his way out of this one; instead, he was just standing in the right place at the right time when the answer nearly ran him over, so i didn’t think he’d earned a problem-free getaway.
fair? not really. thus my conflict.
it will ultimately work out better for him, as it bypasses a problem he was heading straight into, though i don’t think he’d thought things through that far yet, so i doubt he’ll be thanking me any time soon.
ah, the suffering of the artist.
* much as i adore the pilot episode and stopping a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate bars, proven though it has been