My new WIP isn’t so new anymore, but it sure is kicking my butt. I’ve had a horrible time trying to figure out the problems. I mean, I love the plot, I like the characters, I feel pretty confident about the sexual tension. But everytime I sat down to write, I just couldn’t find the magic. It was driving me crazy. I’ve never been in this place with my work for more than a week or two at most.
I knew the problem centered on my characters. I mean, I write romance. LIKING my characters just isn’t going to cut it. I knew the real problem was something with my heroine. But no matter how many times I read over the work, no matter how many new pages I added, no matter how many times I added to her characterization sheet, I just couldn’t pinpoint the problem. But it was there. Glaring in its invisibility! I mean the story’s moving forward, but it’s all plot. The people aren’t real. They go through the motions to get me from turning point to turning point, but there’s something missing. The hero tries, but with this one dimensional woman I’ve got him on the run with, he just can’t get into the story either.
Then this weekend I took a group of 30 teenagers out of town for an academic meet. I don’t know what about this trip broke the block, but I sat down last night with no Internet access (a-ha! maybe I do know what broke the block!) and just started writing a note to myself. I listed the problems I was having, how I felt about it, all the personal excuses I could have for not moving forward. And then I went back and read chapter one.
And suddenly it was crystal clear. My characters have internal motivation and outside conflict, the plot pushes the story forward, I have scene goals BUT my heroine had no idea what she really wanted or why this story was so horrible for her. She was clueless. I’d set the entire story and her character points up around the external plot and I’d somehow left out the tie to who she was when she’s alone at night. When she’s comepletely honest with herself. When she’s being her most real.
Within ten minutes I’d churned out a short synopsis beginning that points outs all I’d discovered. Now for the hard part. Building this discovery into the character I have on the page. But you know what? It’ll be okay. She’s a real person now. Hopefully I’ll find the magic again.
I sure hope so!