Work on the novel continues at the slow speed of life with two kids and a full time job… but it IS continuing which is the only thing that matters! This week I’ve gone back and taken the almost finished draft from before I decided to start over and began deconstructing it into outline form. The basic story was pretty much hammered out in that draft – at least to the end of the middle – regardless of how poorly it was written in my early days of training to be a good writer. That is the easy part! Then I can outline the key points that have always been swimming around in my head about where the story has to go to reach the end.
But then comes the hard part…
I’ve been grappling with some massive changes that must be worked out because of some new directions I already know are in store. For instance, I’ve decided that a different character is going to be kidnapped instead of my main character’s daughter. The kidnapping itself was merely a means to an end to get her to follow her daughter’s kidnappers and once she got there I never wrote her authentically enough to have a missing daughter; nor could I because there were more important reasons for her to be where I had sent her. So, no daughter kidnapped. Solves the characterization issue but creates a whole bunch of new things to work out. Does she even need a daughter? I don’t think so now. But, the daughter is key to several pieces of the puzzle – like the two main characters initial meeting happens because the daughter stumbles across him in the woods and takes him home. If she doesn’t exist, how do they meet now without dissolving the believability of one of my favorite scenes written to date? Okay, then maybe the daughter can stay but she isn’t the main character’s daughter. Maybe she’s a niece? But then that requires there to be more than a string of only-children which is how the family dynamics have already been written with an important tie to the matriarchal grandmother who is the key to everything at the end. *sigh*
Like I said, the hard part!
As much as I love some key pieces of discovery writing (where you just write and things happen and hopefully they all work out in the end) I don’t want to waste another year of just writing without knowing exactly how the story ends. I need to work out all the background to the story, figure out the way all the characters fit with each other and the major plot points. THEN I can start writing to fill in the blanks and flesh it out with characterization, description and tension. I am a woman on a mission – to finally finish this damn thing! If you need me, I’ll be writing… or staring blankly into space trying to figure out how to make it all work so I can start writing again!