I decided to keep going with Meg and Nick rather than start the new story that was singing its siren song. I wrote some notes for it, and saw the perfect heroine on the Underground the other day- she looked so like I visualised Nellie I was gobsmacked. Poor girl, I think she wondered if I was a loony, I could not stop staring at her! So her description went into the notes too.
Anyway, back to Meg and Nick. I’ve thought about them, written more notes for their story this week. I know I have to avoid my tendency to on add more, more, more, and focus on simplifying. Here’s what I wrote-
Keep it simple, dig deep. What does that mean for my story?
It means that all the threads that are going to affect the plot and conflict need to be there from the beginning, even if in dormant form.
The financial shakiness, the threat from developers, Beth dating. All the choices they make need to somehow make things worse. That could be the problem with the “fling” at the moment- it’s a resolution of some conflict, but maybe it doesn’t cause enough new conflict. What if somehow sleeping with a guest gets her in trouble and makes things worse. So not just the emotional issue when he makes it clear he wants something serious, but it makes her external circumstances worse too. Ways it could threaten her security and home- pregnancy, some archaic bylaw that says to run a boarding house she needs to be of good character, ditto but more so for housing vulnerable adults. Then the developers, circling like vultures, close in. How does it make things worse for him? Trying to save her gets him in trouble. Fake engagement, upset parents problems at work. Whatever it is needs to impact his core inner conflict.
Her core conflicts- trust. Believing that she I attractive and desirable. Believing that lasting love is possible Taking risks. Losing/ givng up her safe controlled environment. Becoming willing to change- accepting that change is inevitable and the only control we have is choosing what we can of the changes we make.
His core conflict- believing he can have what he wants, finding a way to live authentically and balance competing demands and expectations. Breaking loose of family role. Being willing to let her go for her own good- choosing the path of honour and getting her what she most wants even though that may mean losing her.
It’s all good stuff. The problem is, I’ve not written one word of actual story since I decided I needed to start from the beginning again and rewrite.
I have excuses, of course, mainly yet another week from hell in the Day Job, arriving home late and brain drained. My excuse yesterday was that I didn’t get home from work until nearly 11pm on Friday, so I slept in late, then I had all the usual practical weekend stuff to get out the way before I could write.
There’s always an excuse. This job is not going to change. I need to either find a new job or find ways of writing despite the job. Right now, it’s not good enough to keep using it as an excuse, no matter how much of a time eater it is.
And it’s more than lack of time. I do have time, if I am honest. I’m just not using it to write. I simply cannot seem to start rewriting the story. I have pages of notes, three chapters that no longer fit my vision for the story despite me having a go at revising them, and a big resistance to starting again.
I wanted to at least be doing something writing related yesterday, so I started reading “Manuscript Makeover” as recommended by Michelle Styles. Even though it’s about fixing a completed story, the section on Riff Writing gave me the answer.
I don’t want to start the rewrite, because I’m scared of getting it wrong again.
This is insane of course, as if I don’t start I’m left with the chapters that I already know aren’t what I want, but who said my sub-conscious mind is sane!
My new mantra- It can be fixed. So just write it.
I need to start writing. Any old dreck, so long as it’s words related to the story. Take off this pressure to get it perfect. And write. Even if it’s only ten minutes using Write or Die, start this minute.
I’m off to do it now.