Romance is out (again).
In re(re) plotting and pondering the state of my series saga whilst snuggled up in a nice, warm corner at the coffee bar within the Character Development Inn in the Land of Exposition, I plotted out and pondered over the various narrative arcs that could/might occur if my (male) main character were married. I managed to think up no less than nine (!) different scenarios, most with sub-scenarios which could/might affect the narrative arc and character/development and relationships between characters – it ended up looking like a complicated flow chart, and ultimately created more problems than solved them.
So, I took the path of least resistance and removed the spouse, whose existence was precarious to begin with, as she was already dead at the start of the series. The question of how her death came about (or whether she was actually dead or pretending to be dead) and its impact on my main character presented too many possible paths down which the character’s journey would travel. I (briefly) toyed with the idea of having their meeting and eventual romance progress through the series arc, but that proved to be a distracting subplot, and really served little to no function to the main thrust of the series arc. Moreover, it would have made the series sequential one, following a quasi-strict linear path; the original intention was that this series (and the two subsequent quasi-related series) would be (for the most part) stand alone, self-contained mysteries.
Furthermore, as I’ve quasi-frequently mentioned (I think) in this blog series, I don’t do romance – I’m not a huge fan of the genre (though there are a few exceptions to this decree) and mostly though of adding it into this first series (as I’m committed to focusing on just Series One of the MASC Chronicles) as it’s an element (most) readers expect to find in (almost) every story series. On the other hand, it’s a well-known (and frequently recited mantra) that one should “write what you know”. Well I don’t know much about love and romance (and all that jazz) – at best I’m either oblivious or indifferent to that sort of thing (at least in my own personal life) so I might as well stick to what I know and not write about matters about which I know very little. Then again, I’ve absorbed enough fictional romance, via books, films, TV shows, theatre, etc. to (kinda) “fake it” – after all, these characters and the situations in which they find themselves is fictional, or exaggerated truths.
But to make a long story short (too late, I know) – the proposed romance and love interest for my protagonist has been erased from existence. However, I did manage to retain the surname of the now expunged spouse/love interest and reassign it to another existing, albeit expository [for the moment] character, because it was a name I particularly liked and has existed amid my lengthy plotting and pondering process. It would have been a (figurative and quasi-literal) tragedy to lose that name.
With the removal of that complication/distraction, the narrative arc and the character development of aforementioned protagonist has shifted and elements/subplots within the narrative arc will need to be reshuffled and adjusted accordingly. Thankfully, I have a pretty good idea down which path my protagonist will journey (sans romance of any kind), and hopefully, it’ll prove to be an interesting read once I actually!write it down.
And on a quasi-positive note, as February winds down, I plan on attempting (along with a fellow aspiring author) to embark on an NaNoWritMo-ish challenge to spend the next month actually!writing with little to no plotting in between. Whether or not I actually!accomplish this (when I’ve clearly failed in the official NaNoWritMo challenges) is suspect.
But attempt it I shall.
May the Force Be With Me, as I hope to Live Long and Prosper.