We’re nearing the end of the “Eyes of the Horizon” monster, and for the first time ever I wrote now a detailed outline for the rest of the story.
It’s something I’m not used to. I have a simple timeline with a sequence of plotpoints that should happen, eventually and perhaps even in a certain order, and so far this has generally worked pretty well. Only when my characters are stubborn and refuse to cooperate inside of the brilliant frame of action I have planned for them, I get stuck – until I bring myself to admit that usually, they’re right. I think every writer knows this phenomenon. I know it all too well, it happens in every single piece I’ve ever written, regardless of length. But I’m astonished that it still happens in EOTH. One should think that after roughly 400k words, I should know my characters.
Seems I don’t. But character always trumps plot, and if characters refuse to act the way the plot demands them to, it’s the plot that has to change. I’ve killed so many darlings already, the wittiest dialogue and the most exhilarating turns of story, just because some member of my staff suddenly showed me the finger and yelled at me. “Are you nuts? I’d NEVER do that!” Especially Q and V are great at this. Farkas was always pretty predictable (although he is a darling too), but even he managed to surprise me from time to time. And they always win, despite all gnashing of teeth, whining and hair-tearing.
But now I know pretty well how it all will turn out, where I want them to go and end up. Some minor parts are still a bit vague, but by and large it seems to be consistent. I’m thrilled to write it out and see if it will work, or if I’ll have to go through more shouting matches with bull-headed Tamrielians – and everybody knows that no one will ever win a shouting match with a Dragonborn.