Day 25: Standalone storylines

As my novel stands now, the eight main characters have formed into three divergent, occasionally colliding storylines. I had not planned much of the story before writing it, and the ending is not an exception to that: I know where things need to stand at the beginning of the book following this one, but that really has little to do with the events of this book, beyond the antagonists of this story no longer being around.

So now I face two issues. First, I need to find a way for my three groups of characters to converge at the climax of the story, even though they are very separated currently. And second, I need to figure out how this story ends. Do any characters die? If none die, how will the antagonists be justly dealt with? Preferably, I will solve those two issues concurrently–that is, the characters converging will naturally lead to a conclusion and a just end for all involved. I just need to work out how I get there.

At the same time, part of this major plot arc may involve bringing back into the picture the two main characters that I essentially spun off from the other six and then completely ignored for a long time. It’s not that they bored me or anything–I love them actually, and their relationship. But in order for their connection to develop, they had to be alone together. That means that it may be difficult to pull them back into the main plot, at least with any realistic feel.

The closer that I get to coming up with my Great Idea for everything colliding and sprinting to a finish, the more it seems clear that much will need to be reworked in order to better lead the characters there after the fact. I definitely didn’t put enough work into a few characters to make their arcs feel believable as I contemplate rushing them back together. I won’t mind fixing it in revision, but I do wish that I’d had an ending in mind much sooner on.

What do you think? Is it common to realize that you need to fill out your characters only once you approach the end of a story?

Today’s word count: 2,002

Total word count: 62,454

Today’s excerpt: Elle tilted her head to the side, confused. “That’s not how it works, you know. Your power came to you as a Guardian, but it couldn’t have been fated to be yours if it wasn’t already running through your bloodline.”

Mel blinked. “My bloodline?”

“Power is hereditary. The Guardian spell amplifies what’s already there, coming somewhere from your family. Why do you think it was you who closed the gates the first time and not Rina?”

“Honestly, I just sort of volunteered, it wasn’t some big conspiracy,” Mel replied, thinking back to how young they were then. “Someone had to do it, and neither of us had a clue. I just thought maybe I could muddle my way through it and protect everybody.”

“Well, not to sound like I’m part of the big conspiracy or anything, but that was fate, not chance. Somewhere inside you, you did know what to do and how to do it. Your Guardian powers just pulled that forth.”

Mel was quiet for a long time, thinking this over. She could replay the last few years in her mind, seeing how dulled she felt around the edges before and how alive she felt after, and begin to forgive herself for what she saw as benefiting from the consequences of an enemy’s death. Maybe it was supposed to happen, maybe it had been fated to lead her there. Maybe she couldn’t have stopped it.

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Day 25: Standalone storylines

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