Last year I started writing my young adult urban fantasy. Everything was literally flying along…until I took a break to write a novella for an upcoming anthology. I figured since the work was short I wouldn’t have any problem jumping right back in to my YA. WRONG!!! I have struggled with the manuscript ever since. It’s been a hard lesson to learn. Quite painful. One I will not soon forget. Some writers have the ability to pick up right where they left off. I am not one of them. I haven’t made
any much progress on the book…that was until today. Yesterday I spent several hours charting out what has already happened in the manuscript and what needs to happen. Today, I phoned a dear friend/critique partner to ask for assistance about the romantic subplot. (I was worried there wasn’t enough romance and that it wasn’t going anywhere.) A strange thing happened when she picked up the phone. I started talking about the story. The whole story, not just the romance, and it began to fall into place. I knew the bulk of my problem was in the first act. Like I said in yesterday’s blog, things were happening too quickly. As I talked, gaps began to fill in, new scenes appeared, and the outline fleshed out. For forty-five minutes, my friend just nodded and said ‘uh huh’ while I babbled incoherently about the story. It wasn’t what I phoned for, but it was exactly what I needed. By the time I hung up, the entire story was in my head. I quickly wrote it down on notecards. Now I’m ready to jump back into the manuscript. I have the road map to follow. My destination is clear.
I’ve brainstormed a lot with my critique partners, but I rarely talk a novel out. Brainstorming is a give and take of ideas. Talking a novel out is more like a brain dump. You as the author are working out the problems you’ve been having on your own, while a VERY patient friend listens. Sure they may jump in with a question or a suggestion, but for the most part you are running through the entire story on your own out loud. It’s like telling someone the story while new ideas are popping up along the way. It’s exhilarating. I cannot believe how excited and RELIEVED I feel. I can’t wait to jump back into the book.