I solved a major problem yesterday.
I’ve been conflicted for years over the character of Ivan Stetler. I won’t bother going into much detail about this conflict, except to say that it hinged on his character status in the book. As the coach of basketball and baseball, and player of most sports, he could easily become the main character. I knew that he must be a major character because of the integral part he plays in the central theme and plot. But I couldn’t decide exactly where Ivan’s role began and ended, and whether I should make all action revolve around him.
At one point, I decided to give Ivan a handicap. The nature of the handicap I will keep to myself. I thought that a handicap would enlarge his character and make him more realistic and perhaps more sympathetic. If he were to be handicapped, he would be limited in certain ways and therefore weakened. This kind of plot change, along with several others I dreamed up as the years went by, caused my progress on the book to falter and eventually stall completely. My own imagination had got the best of me. So many ideas and only one story to exercise them in was my downfall.
But yesterday, while grinding my way slowly through the editing of the latest draft, I made a decision about what to do with Ivan. He is an outsider to the small town of Stillwater, coming from a larger town in the county. Although he resides in Stillwater and teaches at the high school, for certain reasons he is distrusted by some of Stillwater’s town leaders. They have reasons for the distrust, and their feelings work in opposition to the feelings of the students and aspiring athletes of the high school. My decision concerning Ivan seems, on the surface, to be minor. But it sets things in motion that should help guide me through the rest of the story and will help make sense of some of the plot turns that seemed previously to be so troublesome.
My decision included Ivan’s missing the first basketball game of his Stillwater Stingers, the men’s team that he almost single-handedly put together. His failure to appear at the game in the role of coach and manager is caused by an event that results in the handicap that I mentioned above.
At this point, I am editing and rewriting my way into Chapter 5.