The flipping a coin thing to decide what to write next yesterday didn’t work too well. There was another option I didn’t consider- that I would get intrigued by a different story.
Michelle Styles’ question yesterday, to get me thinking about what it was in the Cinderella story I really wanted to write, worked brilliantly. My answer was- I don’t need princesses or billionaires at all. My sort of Cinderella has a run-down boarding house in a seaside town, inhabited by eccentrics, as her palace by the sea.
During the afternoon, in between thinking about Kate and Adam’s story, I kept thinking about this character, what would she be like, what would she want in a partner, who would her worst nightmare as a partner be? A vibrant and fascinating woman, full of contradictions, was coming alive.
I also realised that I have a lot of history with Kate and Adam. There are so many episodes I’ve visualised for this couple, but the old story for them was very much based on external conflict. I want to write their story, and soon, but wouldn’t it be more fun for my JanNo story to start with a new couple, a new story?
I had a lovely time last night getting to know Meg! Though I’m realising this morning that I’ve already fallen into an old trap- overcomplicating things. I’ve given her several sources of conflict, when one good one is enough. With everything else, does she really need to have an abusive ex? Probably not, especially as once I introduce him, like Chekhov’s gun, I’d feel obliged to use him.
Oh my goodness! Thinking about that- I discovered something amazing by digging deeper into the other big relationship block. She defininitely doesn’t need an abusive ex. So out of character. She wouldn’t have even let the guy near her! I’m gobsmacked by what I just found out. This is such a lesson for me. I take facile superficial conflicts, feel they aren’t enough, so I add another contrived superficial conflict. This does NOT work! Not that an abusive ex is a bad conflict, a different character would have had good reason to escape her bad childhood by jumping into the first relationship that came along. It’s just that Meg wouldn’t. And I only threw him in because I was scratching around for more reasons she wouldn’t be open to a relationship with Nick. Digging deeper into what was already there produced something far better.
In the Superromance editors podcast , they talk about avoiding cliches, not just grabbing onto the first idea that comes along but keeping on looking for other ideas- the fourth or fifth will be the best! Ellen Hartman mentions this too, I can’t remember where now though it may have been in this Q&A on heroes (will come in useful as this afternoon’s job will be getting to know my hero Nick better!). I need to read this again too- Kate Walker’s “Keep it simple, dig deep“.