Out of that conversation with my editor came yet another plot change, due in part to some research I’d done which didn’t support the most recent plot change Drake had instituted. The only problem with the new idea was that the ending of the book now began to overlap with another project I was working on, a thriller. This is not unusual. Even though I specifically write in different genres to avoid this “subliminal self-plagiarism”, sometimes it still happens, especially if the second book project that is being overlapped is stronger than the first.
So, Drake was frustrated. I was frustrated. We didn’t write for tow days. Drake built the Fun & Games page of our website, I worked on other editorial projects and shipped out some books. I was hopeful that Wednesday night’s writing group session would help to work things out. Fortunately for Drake and me, the time was extremely productive.
Sitting in the Troy Public Library, staring at the latest plot change, I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to go with The Last Strand next. I found myself considering the idea of setting it aside for now and working on the (what seemed to be) stronger thriller novel. Just as I was about to close the file and accept defeat, Drake quacked very loudly in my ear, nearly knocking me off of my chair. He had an idea… I started typing, taking dictation and following his direction.
In an hour and a half was we were able to add 1,728 new words to the manuscript. Drake showed me a better plan for the “well” of the book, and also gave me the ending, and the “moral premise”, which gives the story its meaning and purpose. My characters now have a stronger direction. They understand with greater insight their direction and the goals they have to achieve. The heroine is clearer on her reasons for being, and the antagonist now has a more concrete vision for the whys of his evil bent.
The best part… there is no longer any story overlap, and both books can now stand strongly on their own as very different novels! I was so happy writing last night that I nearly exploded. Containing one’s excitement in the library is an interesting thing. I was clapping silently and bouncing in my seat. I’m sure that those around me, outside of my writing tribe, thought I may have been having a seizure of some variety. My writing friends quietly understood that Drake and I were synchronized once again, and they offered warm, encouraging smiles.
This is the life of a writer. There are ups, downs, and moments of frustration paired with moments of pure exhilaration. Programs like NaNoWriMo keep us focused and don’t allow us the luxury of giving up. We’ve got word count goals to meet… and the frustration of stepping away from those expectations is worse than any plot problem or character conundrum… especially when you’ve publicly announced the release date for your next book. Writers feed off of public opinion, and the last thing we want to do is disappoint our readers.
So… I was able to exceed my daily word count goal last night, and with Drake’s helpful quacking, and my editor’s guidance, I was able to craft a new plot that makes me and my characters happy. We will see how the rest of you receive the story when it’s done. Drake and I hope you’ll like it. I will work at posting another snippet in the next day or so.
It’s November 17. There are fourteen days left to this insanity… to stay on track, I have to get 2,268 words written in The Last Strand today. This shouldn’t be difficult. Hunting season opens this week, which means Drake and I are hanging out with the dogs until Sunday afternoon without the pull to spend time with The Beloved. He’s hunting. I’m a deer widow. That leaves me lots of time to get lots of writing done. And that’s going to be important because Thanksgiving is next week, and if you read my First blog post about NaNoWriMo, you’ll understand why that’s significant.
May you and your family have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving… and may you squeeze in some writing time!
Diana Kathryn Plopa
I love being in love; writing; reading; mammals of nearly every kind, and especially micro-humans! Come enjoy my world with me - Secret Decoder Ring not required!!