On writing characters and plot

I have just realised, as I’m writing (yet another) piece of Dresden fanfiction, that I can write characters and plot separately.

At the moment, I don’t know why my characters are in a certain place. There’s something happening that’s forced one to call in the others; there’s an enemy, a journey, and an event. But the details don’t matter.

Which is weird. They sort of should, shouldn’t they? But the little interactions between characters don’t necessarily need those events in place. I know that on a journey they’d stop in certain places, which provides moments of interaction; I know there would be fights with unconnected enemies (the NeverNever is nice like that); I know there would be moments of snark and chatter, moments of tiredness and quiet, moments of life and action.

I’ve got one baddy and some backstory there, so I’m able to write sections of that plot. But again, that doesn’t necessarily have to be connected to the main one. It just feels as if I have two threads running; one is my characters, the other is the plot. I only have one that I’m weaving so far, but there’s space for the other one to drop in. I can put the action scenes in later, I can decide why they’re in a certain place. I can write little snippets of things that I think will help, but I don’t know if they’ll be used or not.

I’m just randomly musing here. It’s an odd and unusual way to write, certainly, and it’s definitely not recommended by most writing how-to’s. But sod it, this is me. I write how I want, and for some reason, this works for me. I’m enjoying it.

“There are incursions of beasts and those from Outside our realms,” Tiny says. “They do threaten our borders, and our Queen requests your recall to deal with this matter.”

And in that moment, every detail that we’ve learned, every little strand, suddenly snaps together. Summer’s trying to recall me, and do it urgently enough that they’d send Tiny to an unknown location and use a tracking spell that’s both uncertain and dangerous. My travelling companion is worried enough to volunteer not to spill the beans on a message he knows nothing about. Warren’s here, doing something big, and there’s forces involved that I didn’t know about or expect. I’m suddenly convinced that whatever is going on is deadly, horribly serious.

I glance at the Knight standing next to me. “A feint?”

His face is set, brow creasing with worry. “Yup,” he comments laconically.

I turn back to Tiny. “No. I’ve got urgent business here.”

“Thou wouldst disobey our Queen?”

“Tiny,” I say quietly, “what this comes down to is that you can’t force me. You have to obey our Queen’s demands. I don’t. This is important, and I’m staying on this trail.”

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.