Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Day Three Progress April 3, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 8:26 pm
Tags: , ,

A tougher day today.  The magical flow was most definitely not with me!

I struggled to make not quite 5,000 (a hundred words under my target!) Part of the problem was I wanted to jump ahead- I clearly saw a scene with the hero and heroine that would have written very easily, but that won’t come until about half way through the story. Maybe I should have written it anyway, but I don’t want to end up with a jigsaw puzzle effect where I write scenes out of order then have to try to piece them together. I know some writers do work like that, I’ve done it in the past, but for this one I want to try to write straight through. If I write things out of sequence I find I have to bend the story to make them fit. It might work for writers who have their story very planned, but I’m totally pantsing it on this one. The other thing that slowed me down was accidentally deleting a couple of pages- no idea how that happened.

Everyone is back to being  far too nice to each other again, in fact it looks like my heroine and her mother have pretty much reconciled and I’m only a third of the way into the story. I didn’t really want that yet. Will have to work out how they can delay that a bit. They’ve dealt with one layer, but there’s another bigger layer underneath of issues with her mother that the heroine needs to resolve before she can believe the hero loves her.

I’m also noticing I have very little hero point of view- only two scenes so far, though one is a good strong scene. He didn’t get any POV at all today. I’m wondering if I should aim to finish short on the word count, maybe 55,000 or even 50,000. That way I’ll have plenty of space to layer in more emotion and sensory detail and sense of place, as well as leave room for more from the hero.

My worry then of course is that when I cut out all the dreck and the scenes that don’t earn their keep I’ll only be left with 30,000 words!

The truth is, there’s no way I’ll be able to manage things well enough for the story to come to a good satisfying conclusion at exactly the right word count! I just don’t have enough control of my writing yet for that. It will finish when it finishes and then I have to work with that. But I’m not going to stress if it comes up a bit short.

I have absolutely no idea how I am going to resolve the conflict. I don’t even have a really strong grip on the hero’s conflict yet! He’s got a major trust issue with the heroine because she betrayed him badly in the past (he thinks). Her telling the truth of what happened will be emotionally powerful and he will feel for her strongly, but in some ways he’ll be even angrier once he learns the truth. It’s not going to fix the situation, it will probably make it worse, far worse. And she’ll be devastated because she hoped telling him would make everything all right. I think the truth telling needs to be the Black Moment. The resolution will be them coming to terms with the effects of the truth.

Of course, I could end up in a tangled screaming heap at around 50,000 words with no resolution in sight if it doesn’t work!

I have two books on my TBR pile that deal with similar issues and I’m deliberately not reading them until I finish writing this. I don’t want to end up copying how someone else has done it. Once the first draft is done, then I’ll read them.


3 Responses to “Day Three Progress”

  1. Eileen Says:

    since the h and the mother are being too nice to each other you need something to happen to make the mother behave badly again. I just read Nora Robert’s Vision in White and the great thing about the annoying mother character was that something off screen was always happening with her … she got a bf, the bf broke up with her, she needed $1000 to go to NYC, her car died, drama drama drama all the drama showed up at the heroine’s door courtesy of the mother but none of the events that incited the drama happened while the heroine was around 🙂

    As far as big drama/conflict/resolution for the novel, I vote for trauma. Situations of high stress/tension always bring us together and I’m not afraid to go for the cheesy ones if need be. 😉 Not suggesting an asteroid barely misses earth or anything, but some nice outside influence like a near death experience that makes the H/h evaluate what’s important.

  2. Marcie Says:

    Sometimes you may have to write that scene that is to happen so far ahead so you can clearly focus on current scene. Otherwise you keep thinking ahead and could miss some good stuff along the way. It’s only my opinion so you have to do what works for you obviously!

    Day one and Day two I could tell you were feeling positive – don’t let a tough Day three stop you from having a great Day four! It will all work itself out, but for it to do that you have to keep forging ahead.

    By the way – love the catchy title Marrying Ms Wright!

  3. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Eileen and Marcie!

    Today was better.

    Re the conflict- lots of potential for near death crises. The heroine’s mother has just been diagnosed with a nasty cancer, and the hero is a very outdoors type, into bushwalking and abseiling. Already when he mentioned abseiling she’s said she’s scared of heights, so that’s a possibility. I have to be very careful I don’t tip over into too much external stuff and keep the focus on the emotions!

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