The fix

I’ve been thinking about the problem that has had my stymied for the past several weeks. I just couldn’t find a way around this little stumbling block and I was at a stand-still. I’ll admit that even though my goal is to publish this year, I wanted to give up and move on to another project, one that I hope would be far easier to complete.

But I’m not one to give up so easily. While I waited patiently at work for customers to show up, and yes I worked on Mother’s Day, I pulled out a sheet of paper and started to jot down notes.

Who’s after Jasmine?

I began by writing down the names of my characters, the ones who are the most likely suspect to be terrorizing my main character, detailing their history and the reason why they may be stalking her. As I scribbled my notes, I had one of those moments of brilliance. I may have figured out how to save my story! I finally had my Eureka! moment.

And now the dread washes over me, hours after that brief elation. I realized that by figuring out how to fix what’s wrong with the story I would have to sit down and introduce a new character. Well, that not quite true. My savior is already in the book, but they haven’t been fleshed out thoroughly. My task is to beef up their part, including their motivation for seeking out Jasmine. Luckily, that all came to me while I jotted down my notes throughout the day.

I’m excited about this. The way the story ends has bothered me for some time. One of my beta-readers actually called me out on how I resolved the story. I made a liar out of my character. They are not duplicitous in any way. Awkward? Yes, but not malicious nor psychotic. Now, that character can be true to themselves while this new character gets to enjoy a promotion of a sort and fully embrace a role that I could never really develop.

It should only take a few minor rewrites to incorporate them into the narrative. I’ll have to tweak some dialogue and create a few key scenes along the way, but as I have already deleted some other scenes, I should do so seamlessly, or at least that’s my hope.

To think that I’ve been wracking my brains in search of an answer and all it took for me to find it was to write it down. It allowed me to focus on the problem while not confronting the issue. It worked itself out organically. I just hope I do it justice. Also, I hope I remember how to fix it.

My first hurdle

Well, that didn’t take long! I hit a slight pothole while working on my book. Honestly, it feels more like I drove off the side of a cliff, tumbled down the embankment, and landed in turbulent seas. Though I have miraculously survived, the car is quickly filling with sea water, sinking, and I don’t know how to swim. This may be the end. If I don’t make…*glub glub*

I love a belabored metaphor. Sorry about that. Everything I’ve found so far have been relatively easy fixes. For example, one of my minor character’s story arc will be reduced, though not entirely eliminated. I want my main character to try to help her friend out with her problems while my M.C. is grappling with her own situation. What a friend! It’s all about putting everybody’s story arc in their proper perspective.

There are paragraphs, and a few scenes, that have been reduced or eliminated. Some didn’t fit, some took me as the reader out of the book, and some were just unnecessary. I’ve continued to refine my language, trying to say what needs to be said in as succinct a manner as possible. It’s hard work to write effortlessly.

The problem I found involves another of my characters. Something about them isn’t clicking. I like the character, and they have a part to play, but the issue is that their part grew the more I wrote and I’m having trouble unifying who I wanted them to be versus who they ultimately became. Their arc became more convoluted and the fix took me out to such an extreme that they became a cliché instead of a complicated character. Fixing it has plagued me for a long time.

I’m sure a lot of rewriting is in my future, and I’m okay with that. I’m confident that I have a strong story, minor problems notwithstanding. It’s just going to take more work than I originally planned on dedicating to this project. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, I’m going to have to figure out how the hell to fix it. I guess I could simply give up, but I feel giving up isn’t truly an option.

Making the cut

I’m going through my book, again, and mercilessly slashing it to bits. I have a bad habit of keeping things in solely because I wrote it. I’m a genius, after all. Only I’m not. I can’t even fool myself into thinking that.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read and reread each single line. Some are great, some need a little bit of polishing, and some are crap. On one particular paragraph I added this little note: Who cares?! Shorten or delete paragraph! There are other lines and paragraphs that I have marked as needing to be cut out. Those parts have bothered me, but I resisted. Enough is enough! I’m taking care of business now.

I’m finding it difficult to delete those words I worked so hard to write. I’m discovering that not everything I wrote is worth saving. I say I’m discovering that fact, but the truth is that I already knew. I guess what I should say is that I’m finally accepting that I need to be a little more discerning as to what makes the final cut of the story.

I’ve read, and I’ve cut, and I’ve rewritten and finagled spelling, grammar, syntax and I’m still not satisfied. As a whole, I’m pleased with the story, but there are those places that cause me distress. I’ve reprinted the whole book, or I’m in the process of doing so, and it comes in at 400 pages, double-spaced. I want to trim that down some.

I’m only on the second chapter, but I’ve managed to cut out maybe a thousand words. I’ve cut out a secondary character’s story arc, one that adds nothing to move the plot forward. There’s another character that needs to be rewritten. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to do that. It’s a puzzle that I need to put together, and I have no idea how the finished picture is supposed to look like. I’m a little stressed.

I’m going to continue reading and making my notes, tweaking it so that I can finally send it to someone to proofread. I’ll correct as many of those as I can find, but I’m sure there has to be several stupid mistakes per page. I can’t wait to be done with this. Why did I think I could do this? I must be mad.

I’m also really tired.

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 17

Since midnight last night, according to my stats on the NaNoWriMo website, I have written 3516 words, bringing me up to a total of 28,541, and on par for the first time since day 11. I have no illusions that I will stay on par at this point. It’s been hell just trying to stay in the running, but I have. I will come out victorious!

Thankfully the last two days of NaNo will be on a weekend, and I currently have weekends off. As long as I don’t fall too far behind, I’ll be okay. Work is killing me. I like to write at night, and working the night shift is seriously killing my writing mojo. But it’s okay. It will be okay.

Breathe…

I went back earlier today and started reading from the beginning. I do that from time to time, just to measure how far I’ve come. There’s no way now for me to read the whole thing quickly, but it’s a way I can get a sense of where I started and where I plan to go. Here’s what I found so far.

  1. Character motivations have shifted since the beginning. That’s not so unusual for me. Once I get to know the characters, they tell me their secrets and then I know that I will have to make some revisions.
  2. The cast of good and bad guys is pretty fluid. What I mean, and this goes back to character motivations, that being good or bad is not cut and dry. One who I thought was a good guy revealed to me that he really has nefarious intentions. Another one, a baddie who committed an atrocious act against my MC, did so due to a misguided feeling of love towards her.
  3. No one person is wholly one or the other. Even my MC is not a total white hat. Sure she’s a woman who sleeps around for money, but she’s mostly a genuinely good person. Except that a desire for revenge has been awoken in her, a desire she’s starting to act on.
  4. The title of the book is The First Love of Giada Esposito. I know who she’s going to fall in love with, and they’ve already met briefly already, I just don’t know how I’m going to steer her to seek his help. There’s a vague idea, but nothing concrete. It scares me.
  5. Apparently I’m going to write a sex scene with Giada acting as a dominatrix. What the hell do I know about that? Maybe I need to find a dom to teach me a few things…. Or not.

I have to go now. Work beacons. So excited, or so exhausted? I don’t know. I just want to write!

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 10

Welcome to week two of this madness. Only twenty more days until the end. I don’t know if I can make it. I barely survived week one, and that’s only because I spent all weekend playing catch up. Eight-thousand words in two days: not too shabby!

Right now I’m about six-hundred words from actually being caught up. I hope to get ahead today to give myself a little bit of a buffer. Going overnight at work has really taken a toll on my ability to write. I seem to do best after the sun goes down. That’s when my creativity spikes distractions wane. For the rest of the month, however, I’ll be purging backstock to get ready for inventory.

That makes it hard to write. I’m busy during my peak time working at my job, and when I get home at 6:30 in the morning, I play on Facebook for a few minutes before setting my computer aside and falling asleep. By the time I get up, it’s between one and three in the afternoon, and I do my best to write, but distractions seem to get in the way.

Week two should be a little easier, at least that’s what I’m going to believe. I’m at sixteen-thousand words, and I have a clearer idea of what the story is turning into. I’m still trying to pin down Giada’s personality. In my first book, Giada was flirty with a mischievous personality. I haven’t quite got it right, yet. She also hasn’t met Israel, either. Maybe he’s the one that unlocks her true nature. We shall see.

At least my antagonist is developing nicely. He has a lust for power and an arrogance only those with no real abilities seem to possess. He’s scared of Giada, for some undisclosed reason. I’m ready to introduce the tension between the two and see how it escalates.

No point in procrastinating. I only have a few hours to write before I leave for work. I’d better make the best of them. I’ll check in later this week. Hopefully I can stay on track!