So I’m in the middle of editing my next sub but since it’s pretty much written, I thought I’d spare a few thoughts for the sub after that – never hurts to think ahead and it’s great for the NTAI, right?
Now, I have two stories I am planning to rewrite. One is my Feel the Heat entry made new and shiny, and the other is my sadly rejected ‘nearly there’ ms. Both, I feel, could be made to work, but y’know, comes a time when writing a new story is a good idea. Even just to remind myself that I can!
So yesterday and today, I have been brainstorming something new. It’s been one that I’ve had for a while now and yeah, okay, I admit that I’ve got a synopsis for it and I may have even written one chapter, but from yesterday it’s technically brand new. Why? Because for the first time before beginning something, I actually sat down and worked out what the conflicts were, who my characters were before I started writing. This is a big step for me. I’m usually so impatient to get started that I jump right in. But not this time. And quite frankly it was bloody hard. The crit group luckily came to my aid, but boy, working out this stuff first is nasty.
Firstly I needed to figure out the conflict. I already had an idea for my hero so I started with my initial idea of who he was, except this time, I tried to think of the conflict before anything else. What is he afraid of? What does he want out of life? What does he do now that won’t work for him when he meets the heroine? What is it about him that will prevent him from being with her as soon as he meets her? And then, once I’d decided on him and his motivations, I had to figure out a perfect heroine for him. The easiest way was to make her conflict the opposite of his. Great first step, but then how does her conflict tie into his? And if he’s so wrong for her, what about him makes him so right?
It was like putting together an extremely complicated jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes the pieces fit and sometimes, no matter how much you turn them, they just won’t. It’s frustrating. You’ll try every single piece but nothing works, and then suddenly, completely by chance, you’ll pick one up and it just slots into place. And you’ll wonder ‘how on earth did I miss that?’ Of course, I haven’t got to really know my characters yet and I won’t until I start writing, but – to use the jigsaw analogy again – I’ve got the edge pieces in place. The border is all done, it’s now up to me to fill in the rest of the picture.
I’m hoping to avoid all the mistakes I’ve made in the past so I’m going to put the basic conflict at the top of the ms. With any luck this will stop me trying to make it more complicated and also so I remember what’s driving every scene. Should give me some ideas about how to make sure it gets worse for the characters with every scene too. Did I say how much I love torturing them? Oh yes, I do!
Anyway, this story I’m trying for something a little different. My hero is aristocratic and more Modern in his success than Modern Heat (think rich, rich, rich!). He’s also French, and apparently Frenchmen don’t sell as well as Greeks. Thought I’d give it a go anyway, and hey, at least I know by now not to make the whole story rest on his being French or even being hugely successful. The heart is the conflict and the rest is just window dressing that can be changed if needed.
So anyone else starting something new? How do you tackle it?