Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fixing It :: Romance Plot Bunnies

Is anyone else feeling the effects of the post-lunar eclipse/upcoming Venus transit vibe?  All Monday I was in a very dreamy, romantic mood. Le sigh. This is probably a good thing since I have a romantic scene to write for my Camp NaNo characters.

Speaking of my NaNo story... I had to go back and rethink the entire first half of the book in order to get the characters on the same page together. Talk about a total nightmare. This is something like that fourth or fifth rewrite to the beginning of this book, I kid you not. If you heard someone sobbing around 1 a.m. CST Monday morning, that was probably me. The laughter? That was likely my muse.

I mean, I knew this story had some issues to start with, but I thought I had most of the big problems ironed out. Like the slow beginning. I fixed that. Or so I thought. Until Sunday night, around midnight, when I realized the way the story was playing out, the hero and heroine were going to be apart for a good chunk of the book. In fact, they'd be apart for about half of it, and let's face it, that just won't work in a romance.

As soon as I realized what was going on, I stopped writing immediately. I'm lucky I caught this before I got much further, because I had to go right back to the beginning of the story. Initially, I took out all my notes and outlines and tried to find a work around. I rewrote and rearranged for about an hour before I finally accepted that this story would have to be ripped apart. Again. 

By the time I figured all this out, it was late (or early, depending on you want to look at it). I wasn't accomplishing anything, so I decided to go on to bed. Well, around the time I put the wip aside and headed toward the back of the house, hubby got up. He was pacing the floors and feeling sick. :*(

I can't rest when someone in the house is sick. It's like I go into hyper mom mode or something. Between hubby's retching and coughing and my half-delirious/semi-waking dreams of trying to fix my book, I didn't get any quality sleep. I ended up trying to nap on the couch, but I didn't fall into a sound sleep until around 6 a.m. When I finally woke up (and got up for the day) it was already 11:30 a.m. Ugh. I hate losing half of the day, and I there I was starting off a Monday with a glorious headache.

I checked on Mini and made something to eat, then I went back to my office ready to face off with these darn plot bunnies. Instead of writing, I sat down with the wip, read through it, and once again began breaking the book down element by element. I had a ton of questions that needed answering: Where is this story going wrong?  Why aren't these damn characters talking to me? Better yet, why aren't they talking to each other? They're supposed to fall in love practically at first site, so why won't they stay in the same room for five minutes straight? Those were just the questions at the top of my list.

After much pacing, grumbling, and gnashing of teeth, I came to several understand several things about my story. First things first, no matter how I rewrite the beginning, the hero and heroine have to come together as soon as possible. Period. This story is a romance. It's not an adventure story. It's not a volume of women's fiction. The very basic requirements must be met, and getting them on the page together is requirement number one.

Secondly, I realized I was trying to be too evasive with the core of the story - the hero is a werewolf. It's perfectly okay to hide this information from my heroine, but I was trying to keep this a secret from the reader. That's all fine and dandy if you're writing a mystery and you want to keep a specific secret from the reader until the end, but once again (let me hammer it into my own skull, plzkthnx) this is a romance. The paranormal aspect is going to be one of the selling points of this book. The reader is going to know before they ever start reading the book the hero is a werewolf. Heck, they'll probably know the minute they look at the book cover. Instead of trying to keep the hero's secret, what I had to figure out was how the hero is going to reveal this crucial information to the heroine.

Once I accessed the story's major problems, I figured out what I have to do to make the story work. I'm going to have to rewrite the entire beginning just like I feared, but doing so will allow me to keep the core theme and its supporting elements - the main reason I wanted to write this book in the first place.

Whew! Anyway, that's what's going on. Writing, headaches, sickness, and...well, pinterest. When I can't figure something out, or I get frustrated, I go over there and categorize things. It's like a visual sorting of ideas. It's really helpful, actually!

I should get back to writing. I'm trying to salvage my word count. I'm dreadfully far behind, but I guess that's just the way it is sometimes. Gotta beware of those plot bunnies! ;o)

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