(Post-A-Day Challenge, Day 26)
I just finished running the last few chapters of the first book of “The Daughters of August Winterbourne”* series past my critique group. As part of the critique, two members of the group questioned one of the minor plot decisions I’d made. Now I’m wondering which of the two possible paths would make the story–and its sequels, because this is a permanent sort of change that will affect one of the characters for the rest of her life–stronger, better.
Part of me doesn’t want to make the change, because the character in question is a fourteen-year-old girl, and the change would mean that she’d have to go through a pretty traumatic experience. (I’m trying not to give too many spoilers here, because some of you might actually want to read this thing someday. Hey, it could happen….) And while I know that, as authors, one of our jobs is to make our characters suffer, I’m not sure I can make this character suffer in quite that way. And there is a certain logic to the way the story flows now, and the potential for conflict between two other characters further down the road as a result of how this plays out. One character essentially lies to the other about what has been done, and there is a certain glee in the payoff when the lie is discovered and challenged.
But part of me has to admit that making the change would give a darker dimension to the character at the center of this conflict, and I find myself thinking…I’d kinda like that. The character as currently written may be just a little too full of sweetness and light, and this might give her enough of an edge to really pull her off of the paper and make her come to life. And there would still be the potential for conflict between the other two characters as a result of what was done (and its combination with another subplot that hasn’t yet come to light).
All of which seems like a lot of fussing about what is, in the end, a minor plot point involving a secondary character. But attention to details like these will make the story better in the long run, so it’s worth spending a little time on them.
Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Has anyone else ever found themselves re-thinking a plot decision? Did you make the change or not? How was the story better for the decision you made?
*I really need to devote some brain cells to coming up with a better title for that, one of these days….