Well I’m still about 8K behind, but catching up. It’s only 8K because I haven’t made a dent on today’s word count yet. Once I’m done writing for the day, I’ll be a lot further.
I’m not falling behind so that’s a win. I’ll be stepping up from my daily 2K quota a little, just to be safe. I plowed ahead yesterday even if I still did not have a clear plan.
A friend suggested writing a scene where my characters talk. Talk to each other or just talking, either way sounded good to me. It inspired me. I ended up writing 2500 words with my two main characters trapped in a room together. I figured I could use it somewhere later in the book. Even if the scene ended up being cut during editing, my friend’s suggestion was that it would allow my characters to speak and let me get a handle on them and perhaps that would help.
It was enough to get me writing again.
Something interesting happened.
The scene was at least 75% dialogue and I could not get either character to open up. It didn’t seem right. I still learned a little about each. Beth is driven and single minded about her goal, which is to protect Anna. Dave is a loner for a reason and is afraid to just try and he’s frustrated that now he’s found something worthwhile but he’s not up to par with what he needs to do. I think I will enjoy cultivating an adversarial relationship between those two for a while.
Pretty good stuff. It works. Didn’t really help with future word count though.
That’s when the interesting thing happened.
I started thinking about the scene. Why were they trapped? I have Anna basically targeted for assassination not for kidnapping, so why would someone run off with her? Why wouldn’t they outright kill my two main characters? Where would all this fit?
I knew the scene was possibly a throwaway going in, but once I was done I just couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t set it aside and say “it might fit somewhere”. It bothered me. Why? Where? How? Those questions kept nagging, so I stopped everything and thought it through.
Answers started jumping out at me. Not character answers, plot answers! Yay!
One problem that bothered me is that I was focused on the Celtic court when I really wanted to have many different mythical communities to play with. Montreal is very multicultural and I want to TRY and reflect that, but I had no idea how to do it.
Until that scene. Answers just bubbled out.
Ok. Here’s what I’m working with now. My main bad guy needs to eliminate the Heir to move up from Regent to King. He can’t outright kill her because that would be a coup and that’s bad form. Works for me.
Now, instead of having him directly set up “accidents”, I have him making backdoor deals with the number 2 guy on the Asian mythological contingent. It goes something like this: Number 2 guy arranges to have the Heir killed but frames the leader of the Asian faction. The Conclave which runs the whole show retaliates with extreme prejudice. Number 2 guy is contrite and, ever so humbly assumes the top spot while making amends to the aggrieved Celtic Court who’s Regent will reluctantly assume the mantle of King.
Nice right? Well I like it. Just that alone gave me another 2K to write and I am nowhere near done. There’s direction in those notes baby!
Now, what’s up with the kidnapping? Well I’m going to have another faction want to foil the bad guys for their own purposes. Now they figure whoever is genuinely protecting the Heir will not agree and they might have some history with Beth so they think she won’t go with it…so instead, BAM! A trap, non-lethal, meant to delay, while they get away with our poor little beleaguered Heir.
Which also creates a good amount of words where our heroes need to track them down and find her while dodging assassins of their own.
I expected to learn about my characters and I did, but I did not expect that the exercise would lead to a major improvement on my plot outline.
Lessons learned here:
1. Don’t ignore it when something you write is giving you more questions than answers. Answering those questions will shake something loose and maybe it’ll be something good.
2. There’s no such thing as a throwaway scene. You might write something you won’t use, but it’s never a throwaway.