Friday, June 8, 2012

The Case of the Gaping WHY

A night or two ago I had a nightmare. I dreamed I went through my manuscript line by line and asked WHY after each sentence. Some of my whys had no answers. Most did, but sometimes the answer was implied, or not immediately evident. I remember being very confused.

I know why I had such a dream.

When I got to the end of my novella, I found a big hole. There was a huge unanswered WHY WOULD HE DO THAT? I know that has more to do with motivation but it sure leaves a hole in my plot. WHY WOULD HE DO THAT?

Yep, I yelled it.

This very important character is not my MC yet the story couldn't be written without him. He's the stimulus, so to speak. The stimulus with the gaping WHY. This is one of those why didn't he just pick up the phone and call instead of manipulating. Manipulation makes him look like a bad guy so there has to be a really, really good reason for it.

I tried to put a band-aid over that gaping hole. Didn't work.  I tried to cover it by attributing the actions of another character to the one with the WHY.  Didn’t work.
To fill this plot hole sufficiently, I might have to add another character and another chapter or two. Or, maybe I do need to make my character wearing the WHY on his forehead a bad guy. 

No, no, I don’t want him to be bad. And this is a novella; I can't have a thousand characters.

I haven’t worked on my story for more than a week because of this gaping WHY. I'm stymied! Help!
Any suggestions how I might approach this problem?


Charles Gramlich said...

I have had that happen. All I can tell you is that it is a sign something ain't quite right. I wish I could be more help.

Inger said...

Interesting that you would have that dream. Maybe if you let it go from your mind for a while, the answer would come to you.

Jan Rider Newman said...

You aren't alone. Remember when I gave up on my novel? In a short time after I said "I quit," the answer to my gaping hole, the problem of whether I needed another character, came to me. Let go, muse, trust, work on something else. Did I say trust? It'll be okay. :)

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I haven't written much in longer forms and so although I wish I had an answer for you, I don't. But I do know that when I write in my voice as a writer as opposed to trying to imitate someone else's voice and when I stop trying to make things happen, things work better. Hang in there.

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Annalisa Crawford said...

I'm a bit late reading this post, I'm just working my way down a huge list. I can't help you with the actual problem, although if your subconscious pointed out the problem it probably also knows the answer. Sleep well :-)