Up on Thrillbent right now. I have to admit, I really do have mixed feelings about Galahad, and my opinion of him changes from week to week. In some ways, I’m still trying to figure him out; I thought I knew him and what makes him tick, and then he quite literally starts saying things that I couldn’t have predicted sixteen weeks ago. I’ve said this before about story structure–I think it’s important to know where you’re going with your narrative (we do), and it’s critical to have a strong beginning, but at least in my case, the more advance planning I do, the more stale it feels when I get to certain long-planned moments. So I try to avoid those. I liken it to setting out to L.A. from Florida by car, committing to taking US 75 to US 10W and a general time frame, but giving myself full permission to take spontaneous detours if I think they’ll make the trip more exciting or if I’ll learn new things along the way. Anyone who says they have every last little detail of their multi-part epic planned out right to every period and comma is either lying or a crash-test dummy. (Or Jonathan Hickman, sui generis he.)
That’s my unasked-for advice today for young creators: don’t feel locked in by your first ideas. Build flexibility into your narrative, and if at any time it feels like the characters are pulling you in some unexpected direction, FOLLOW THEM. If you don’t like where you end up, you can always backtrack, but NEVER be afraid to turn left instead of right just to see what happens.