Idealism vs. Conspiracy

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Fenris
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Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by Fenris » October 1st, 2011, 9:21 pm

Hello everyone, sorry I've been away again. Lately I've been struggling with an issue about my MS, and I'm still on the fence about it. I figured you all could help, being wiser and more experienced than I am.

My MS, Harbinger, is one old hands here have probably heard me mention a few times. Though it's a tale about death and destruction, it's shown through a very idealistic lens--everyone who's on the side of the hero is quite clearly good, and almost all of those on the other side are either clearly bad or unfortunate victims bound to their fate by...well, fate.

But something's been nagging me for a while. One of the major supporting characters, a Valkyrie named Iris, was one of my favorites. I meant for her to be the mentor figure, the reliable one who might slip up occasionally but is always there for the hero. However, nearly all of my beta readers expressed deep suspicion of her right from the start, particularly after her failure during the Inciting Incident. And ever since, I've been thinking: 'What if they're right? How would the story be affected if I gave Iris ulterior motives?'

The answer: quite a lot. After preliminary projections of plot and characters affected by the switch, I've realized that Harbinger could be expanded to span two books rather than one if I were to give everyone their own motives. To put it in simpler terms, it would be a switch from a character- and plot-driven story to a mainly character-driven one, with the plot being resolved as a result of their actions against one another. Would it be interesting? If I did it right, yes. Would it be a good decision, considering I'm in the middle of a school year and have already completed the idealistic version?

Though it seems the answer should be obvious, I admit I'm quite curious as to how the alternate version would play out. Suggestions? Advice? Warnings of the looming disasters I don't yet see?
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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GingerWrite
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by GingerWrite » October 1st, 2011, 11:34 pm

I think I big question you need to consider is whether this change in character would be able to fill another book. If not, then I'd say you shouldn't do it, or perhaps tweak the current WIP. If yes, then go for it! Explore that possibility.
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Quill
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by Quill » October 2nd, 2011, 7:29 pm

Sounds like your changes may result in a deeper, more satisfying story. I say definitely consider going for it.

Unless you are so far along that you're ready to wrap it up and call it done.

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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by Oromashu » October 2nd, 2011, 9:41 pm

What is writing but the continuous act of editing and revising and editing and revising...etc. You get the idea. In all seriousness though, you should go for it and see how it feels to you as you're writing it. Sometimes, while you're writing, you get this awesome feeling that "omg this works" if you get that feeling while revising it then go for it. Truthfully, the MS I'm working on now is an older idea I discarded about three-fourths into completion, it sucked so bad, but I started it over from scratch and it's much better for it. I'm not saying start over from scratch or anything, just see if adding that aspect of your character having an ulterior motive sticks with your current MS. It could turn out to be interesting.

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dios4vida
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by dios4vida » October 2nd, 2011, 10:26 pm

I'm in a similar boat, Fenris. With the magic system I've set up, two of my characters (including my protag) are required to be on the dark side. However, when I was writing my first draft, they turned out nobleand idealistic. No can do. So I've been working on incorporating a darker background to these guys. It's hard, but at the same time, extremely rewarding. The depth I've gained is astounding. I'm all for idealistic, but sometimes exploring the darker motivations can really pay off.

Of course, I'm also so burned out of this story right now (the first draft of this WIP was the hardest year of writing I've ever done) that I hardly want to look at it anymore. Hopefully you aren't in the same boat there.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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MattLarkin
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by MattLarkin » October 3rd, 2011, 9:38 am

Quill wrote:Sounds like your changes may result in a deeper, more satisfying story. I say definitely consider going for it.

Unless you are so far along that you're ready to wrap it up and call it done.
I agree. If you can make something deeper, don't hold back. Depth is usually going to be more compelling than clear cut good/evil.
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Fenris
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by Fenris » October 3rd, 2011, 9:54 am

dios4vida wrote:Of course, I'm also so burned out of this story right now (the first draft of this WIP was the hardest year of writing I've ever done) that I hardly want to look at it anymore. Hopefully you aren't in the same boat there.
I'm beginning to reach that point with the sequel--no matter what I do, it always seems to fizzle out. Maybe reworking the first book will fix that. Doing so will definitely be interesting to say the least if I go through with it: one of the main characters goes from protagonist/mentor to antagonist/corrupter. That would be my forum namesake, Fenris. It certainly keeps with the mythology about him, though I was looking to defy that when I started. Oh well. We'll see. Thanks for your advice, everyone.
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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sierramcconnell
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by sierramcconnell » October 3rd, 2011, 12:35 pm

You know, I was talking about two books the other day. One I read and it was great. It left me with a feeling of...[sigh] that was nice. I would like to read more but if there wasn't, that's okay.

And the other was so great OMG I can't wait until the next book comes out!

I think you need to ask yourself: is this one of those decisions? Will changing things make your book change from a [sigh] to a OMG?
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Cookie
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by Cookie » October 3rd, 2011, 1:23 pm

I'm going to say go for it. I did it with my wip, and it is a lot better. Like others said, try tweaking your ms and see where it goes. It may fix your problems in the sequel.

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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by Fenris » October 4th, 2011, 10:46 am

sierramcconnell wrote:Will changing things make your book change from a [sigh] to a OMG?
Hopefully, yes. A lot of my beta readers (from my target audience, no less) reacted with more or less OMG, but if I can't work out the kinks in the sequel they'll never get to move on. So...I suppose I'll give it a shot and see where it goes. I've already run into a wall about twenty pages into the rewrite (which seems to be par for the course), so I think it's time to dust off my Unfortunate Disaster dice...
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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dios4vida
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by dios4vida » October 4th, 2011, 11:51 am

Fenris wrote: I think it's time to dust off my Unfortunate Disaster dice...
...Are those real? If so, I WANT SOME!!! :D
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Fenris
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by Fenris » October 4th, 2011, 2:57 pm

dios4vida wrote:
Fenris wrote: I think it's time to dust off my Unfortunate Disaster dice...
...Are those real? If so, I WANT SOME!!! :D
Haha they don't sell them (I think), I just made them because I thought they'd be fun. They work best when you keep the fates general, since it can get repetitive if they're too specific and you're having writer's block. One suggestion if you want to use an ordinary die:

1-Utter disaster
2-Mild disaster
3-Incredible misfortune
4-Mild misfortune
5-Inconvenience
6-Reroll

Your characters aim for the five. You aim for the one.
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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MattLarkin
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by MattLarkin » October 5th, 2011, 10:01 am

Fenris wrote:Your characters aim for the five. You aim for the one.
Um, wouldn't be easier to just use utter disaster when you need it, rather than limit yourself to the die roll?
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sierramcconnell
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by sierramcconnell » October 5th, 2011, 10:06 am

But that's not fun, is it?
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polymath
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Re: Idealism vs. Conspiracy

Post by polymath » October 5th, 2011, 10:37 am

One of them writing rules of thumb but it's a cardinal principle not a law or rule: A central character must have a desire wanting fulfillment: goal, need, purpose, etc., whatever. The settings, characters, events, etc., everything under creation must oppose accomplishing that goal. So, yeah, a "helper" auxilliary character no matter how atruistic ought best get in the central character's way, and yeah, have personal desires wanting fulfillment too.
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