Yesterday morning, I’d done my research, carved out my outline. I was poised to draft.
Flicking through an Osprey book, I realised decisions in this novel would put my hero on the wrong – as in boring and possibly distasteful – side in a battle in book 2… or 3 (Project A is Medieval Historical Fiction, by the way).
Hero needed a different patron. A different nemesis…
With a whoop I dived into my research library (Yes a “whoop!” No angst here. I love this stuff. (Listen! In the UK, a common insult to indicate an incompetent is to say, “He couldn’t organise a piss-up (trans: keg party) in a brewery.” Imagine what an actual piss-up in a brewery would be like. That’s me in my book-lined study with swords to hand and Scrivener spread out across my 27″ monitor.)) I had a wild eight hours of ricocheting around the history books. Finally, it all fell into place. I even had three improved End of Level Bosses… but in doing so, I broke my outline.
So today I tinkered and researched, slotted everything together, built retinues for protagonist and antagonist, all woven around a matrix of pure conflict.
But the outline wouldn’t fix.
Family trickled home. Read Kurtzhau another chapter of Desert of Souls. Failed to go out for a beer.
About ten, I slumped in a chair, stared into space, and saw the plot squirm and open out to display all the possible futures of my story (including the ones with ninjas)… And here I am back at my computer. Plot fixed and ready to draft in the morning.
Now I’m thinking: I started work last week, and its Thursday now. That means I’m on Day 9 of Project A. Up until recently, I had just one (1) clear day a week to really write. On that schedule, it would already be March and I would have spent just over two months getting to this point. Worse, there would have been the genuine angst of expending each of those nine precious days on a problem that, in non-writing time, would seem insurmountable. And the horrible second-guessing of the original decision;
Should-I-cut-my-losses-OMG-It’s-been-so-long-my-brain-hurts… surely professionals don’t go through this?
Well, perhaps they – we – do. But right now I’m not because I have the fortune to enjoy the secret tool used by successful writers; Time.