Ok, this is a short one, but basically, I’ve learnt something else about the way I write - I overcomplicate my first draft. I don’t know why I do it or why I think it’s so awesome and exciting to have a million plot points to being with, but I do.
My stories are so chock full of twists and turns that by the time I’m about half way through, I’m completely lost. I can’t keep track of people’s secrets and as a result, the characters become inconsistent because they’re randomly forgetting then remembering things (and by “them” I mean “me”, of course).
This brings on a bout of depression when I realise, in order to fix it, I have to go back and scrap a lot of chapters. But once I get started, it’s a real weight off my shoulders. Not having to keep track of the plot allows me to tell the story. A complicated plot can take over like nobodies business, leaving little down time for the characters, and when that happens, you just have them jumping from one plot point to the next. Everything is chaotic, things are forever tense and it’s more about the action than the reaction.
Suddenly my characters don’t even seem like real people anymore, just catalysts, and I hate that most of all; losing my connections with them, and lord knows if I lose it, the readers will too.
And so, for my next WIP, before jumbling up my story like an unsolvable mystery, I’ll bare in mind that it’s not just the plot that carries the story, it’s the characters too!