I sat down to write a plan for the new version of the Princess story and what I wanted to write today.
LOL, plan? I don’t have one. I am totally confused, yet again.
I thought I was going to take parts of the MH version, and parts of the original version, and mix them together in a first person LBD version.
But I read some of the first version again, and it’s surprisingly good. Pure Presents, but not too badly written at all. That’s where the confusion comes from. I thought I’d decided my voice wasn’t really Presents. But what I read suggests “Hey, maybe the girls were right, maybe that is where I fit best.” I can see where I went wrong with it too. It was never going to work as I first planned it, with way too much external conflict and a villain who was the driver of the plot. But actually if I take all that out, there’s enough internal conflict already there to carry the story.
So Emma goes back to being Gabi from the first version, who grew up in a loving home and misses that so much since her grandmother died. She’s just lost her job, can’t pay her rent, and has just broken up her lukewarm relationship with her boyfriend too. Her external goal at the start of the story is to get a job and a home. Her inner need is to be part of a family again, to feel that sense of love and belonging. Her relationship block is the unrealistic idea of a perfect love her grandmother has brought her up with.
Luk stays the man he is in the second version, but gains some of the ruthlessness, the “do anything as long as it’s within the letter of the law to obtain my goal” quality of the first Luk. His external goal is to avoid having to become Prince of Melus, by getting Gabi to become Princess. His inner need, though he is not aware of it, and if he was aware of it he’d die before admitting it, is to feel loved for himself, not his wealth. He really wants to be part of a family again too, but feels he lost the right to that when his first wife died. His relationship blocks are the walls he’s put around his heart, his unwillingness to trust, and his guilt over Bianca’s death.
Well, I can see straight away when I write it out like that- this story is Presents and not single title. It’s all about Luk. Who has the furthest to come before they can be in this relationship, the biggest blocks to overcome?
Presents is about the heroine being the catalyst for the hero to chance, she grows and changes too but he is the one who has to change the most to allow the relationship to be possible. Single title is all about the heroine, her emotional journey. Unless I rethink it, this story won’t work as single title. Though of course, I can see what I am doing is still working from Presents “rules”. I have created the perfect Presents hero. LBD Luk would be different.
The starting point is always always always the characters, what they want and need, what stops them being together, what needs to happen to change that.
So what do I do? Do I have yet another try at this story, writing it as Presents, maybe for this year’s competition entry? Do I just put it aside for a while, because part of me wonders if I’m too close to it, if I can’t see the right path through the forest because I’m stuck in a tangle of trees?
I can kiss any hope of getting something in for the RNA New Writer’s Scheme (I had this mad idea I could write like a maniac this weekend straightening out a partial of Luk and Emma, then hand deliver my entry tomorrow, the closing date!), so why not start on the new story? Which, coincidentally, will work far far better as a single title than a Presents or Modern Heat, because I have a conflicted heroine (though her life looks just fine on the surface) and a relatively straightforward hero, who is steadfastly resisting my efforts to give him more conflict.
Or why not still write like a maniac on a Presents version of Luk and Emma/Gabi, put the partial in for the NWS, and use the feedback from that to strengthen it before I send it off as my competition entry? I can then start the new story while I’m waiting for feedback.
I think a big part of my conflict is coming from feeling I have to get something in for the New Writers’ Scheme. Not because I don’t want to waste the money, but because I feel so guilty about taking a place that another, more orgainised writer, could have used. In mitigation, m’Lud, can I say that if I’d had any idea how my year was going to pan out, I would never have joined. I didn’t know what a huge but hopefully ultimately productive muddle about this story I was going to get myself in, either. If I could forget about the NWS, forget about the HMB competition, and just let myself play with the story and have some fun with it. maybe by year end or even sooner, I’d have a clear view of what and how I want to write, and could move on forward with my writing. And set some more realistic writing goals for next year. This year’s were ludicrously optimistic, even without all the other stuff going on.
I gotta laugh at myself! Does everyone else have a clear idea of their writing plans and goals, unlike me?
And does anyone have strategies they can share for keeping to one’s writing goals even when depressed, stressed, and juggling home responsibilities, a long commute, and a brain-frying job?