I don’t know what the hardest part about being a writer is: making your own choices or making choices for your characters. I’m the kind of person I have problems focusing on the one thread I want to follow. I know that if you turn left instead of right at one small junction it can change the entire outcome of your situation. There is an entire series based on that fact titled, Choose Your Own Adventure. In those books, if you haven’t read them, the reader is prompted every page or so to turn to certain pages of their choice whenever they are confronted with a choice in the story. I’m pretty sure they were created because someone couldn’t decide if their character should turn left or right and what would be the best story so they left it to the reader.
When you write a story you are essentially playing “god.” It’s not an easy thing, hence I constantly ask “Dear God, how do you do it?” When making choices for yourself you think of what’s best for you. I come from a very family oriented life. Both of my parents are still married to each other without any extraneous relationships or illicit affairs, no drugs (unless you count coffee), and minimal alcohol consumption. We attend church regularly and we get together with my mom’s parents at least once a week for lunch. My dad’s side of the family is in Florida most of the year and the one’s that aren’t… It isn’t my place to say anything in any kind of public forum. But for the most part we stick together. We attend each other’s performances, programs, and what not. Most of my family reads this blog, and is willing to give me feedback.
When we make decisions in this family it isn’t just what’s best for the individual. Albeit when there is a decision the person making it has the biggest say so, but we try to take into account the impact on the entire family. That’s how you need to look at it when making a decision in your story. Think about how it will affect all of your other characters. DON’T LET THIS OVERWHELM YOU!!! Sometimes people get too caught up in the whole chaos and multiverse theory aspects of it. remember it is you and the character in question that make the decision.
One of my hardest decisions was killing off a love interest in the beginning of a story. He was important to that part, but if I hadn’t killed him, nothing would happen the way I have it happening. Now I decided he needed to die, but the characters decided to do it. This is going to sound odd but you are NOT in control of your writing. You are merely telling a story that is already there… (something to do with voices I’m told.) If my characters hadn’t wanted to go in that direction it never would have happened, I never would have gotten around to it.
There are times when you will really want to do something in a story but as you write (if you do it well) but as you go your story will dance around what you want and lead you on a merry chase through the woods, but never get where you want, because when you write you shouldn’t try to control the story anymore than you should try to tell a river where to flow.
So… I guess my real message about choices is don’t sweat it. You can have an idea, write it down, but that doesn’t mean your story will follow. Just let it out and see where it goes. It’s a lot of fun, like reading a book for the first time. If you really must have a plan and structure I recommend the snowflake method which you can find above.