So Monday I got started on MOUNTAIN ECHOES, book 8 of the Walker Papers. “Got started” means I re-read the first 3 chapters and the synopsis, and while the chapters were fine, I thought, “Wow, this synopsis *really* sucks. *Really* sucks. There are major problems with it.”
And then I started to write. And something happened far earlier in the writing than it happened in the synopsis, and I thought, “That’s probably not a bad thing, because the synopsis is so awful,” and by that time I was starting to suspect what was wrong with the synopsis. And then I got stuck, because I had neither a functional synopsis nor, as it turned out, a plot, which was the real problem with the synopsis to begin with. *Lots* of emotional stuff to get through, but the thing I’d propped up as a plot…sucked. It was not plot-like. It was flaily and ugly and would not drive the story in any useful or meaningful way.
So I did what I usually do when my plot comes up dry, which is go out to dinner with my husband and say, “Help!” And after a very nice dinner, I have quite a lot more plot than I did–enough to get me far enough into the book that the rest of the plot bits we talked about will probably start falling into place–and I don’t even think it requires dumping any of what I’ve got written…because for the first time in the history of ever, I not only noticed, but accepted, that I was lacking a plot before I was even a fifth of the way into the book, and moved to fix it before I had to throw away thirty thousand or more words.
I am hoping this is a good sign for the future, though I won’t know until I get there, of course. It may just be I’ve got such a short deadline on ME at this juncture that I recognized I was in no position to screw around being Artsy and Not Understanding My Muse or whatever such shit would apply here, and just got on with it*. But experience tells me that usually once I’ve recognized a problem like this early on and dealt with it, doing it again in the future is a lot easier
Last night I posted “have found the missing plot” on Facebook, where among the many people who “liked” the comment was my Walker Papers editor. I thought that was pretty funny. :)
*this is one of the major differences between professional and amateur writing, I suspect.
(x-posted from the essential kit)