On Character Development, or What to Do, When They Refuse to Cooperate

Having been able to successfully avoid character development glitches for most of my journey through the first draft (which is not over yet), I first encountered this problem at, roughly, the 393,000 word mark, when Dae, instead of passing by Northhill during his morning run—as he normally would do—stopped and started talking. I was knocked out of the writing process for most of the day, because I had no idea why he would do that, and what he would say, and I am still not sure I handled it gracefully, for I had to invoke my right to resolve the situation externally, which I normally try not to resort to. In this particular case, my rescue came in the form of a scream of a very distressed damsel, which interrupted their conversation and saved me from the necessity to write more of the dialogue.

Now the plot thickens.

My main story delivery vessel, Verra, had evolved into such a stubborn (or determined, if you prefer) little creature, that I am now in need of a massive inciting incident for her, just to hammer her back into my (joke of an) outline—I have about five main events in the whole book, and this is the second major one of her arc—because the “I have to do what father said” approach, which I had initially planned, she has, unflinchingly, already dismissed.

The good thing about her decisiveness, is that she will have less problems making a choice.

The bad thing, is that she is leaning toward a choice I cannot afford for her to make.

My main concern is that another personal tragedy might not work, since she is already dealing with one—way too well, I fear—and I am reluctant to eliminate all of her household.

So, in an act of desperation, I have to kill someone in order to prevent Verra from making the wrong decision and buy myself more time to figure out what to do. I really do not want to start civil unrest in the City now (the time for that has not come yet!) just so she has no choice, but to change her mind.

Writing is hard. :-|