A very odd turn …
October 25th, 2015
Those of you who have read The Keepers trilogy will probably remember that Goldie was often guided by a little voice in the back of her head. It led her into trouble and out again, and once she got over her distrust of it, she relied on it a lot.
One of the reasons I wrote about that little voice is because I believe very strongly in instinct. I think it’s something most of us have, if we will only listen to it. My instinct isn’t a nice clear little voice, like Goldie’s, but it generally lets me know pretty quickly if I’m doing something that’s wrong for me. And I ignore it at my peril.
I use my instinct a LOT when I’m writing. It tells me if I’m working on something that my head likes but my heart doesn’t care about, and vice versa. Because of course a good book needs both head and heart – it’s such a long journey from first idea to finished manuscript that, if part of me isn’t enthusiastic, I’m probably not going to get to the end.
This last week, my instinct has been shouting at me. ‘Your main character is BORING! BORING BORING BORING!’
That’s not good.
But it explained a lot of the uncertainty I’d been feeling about the plot. And it’s better to find out now, when I’ve only written 20,000 words, than when I’ve got a whole draft.
So I thought about it for a while. Where’s the energy in this story? Which parts am I excited about? Which characters are busting to do more?
And the answer was: That character who was just an afterthought, who was only going to come into the story once or twice. That boy. HE’S interesting. I want to know more about him. And that other girl, the one with the chicken. She’s interesting too.
I suspect this story is about to take a very odd turn. I’m going to chuck out most of what I’d written, and most of what I’d plotted. And I’m going to see what happens. I WAS aiming for a first draft by Christmas. Now I’m aiming for a new outline by Christmas. In one way it feels like a big step backwards.
But at least my instinct is happy. 🙂