September 22nd, 2010
Getting Ready For The Next Hill

While I was away I set my brain to work on the problems I was having with my YA Fantasy. The story has had me locked up creatively for months. And yes, I’ve tried to work on other projects, but couldn’t stay focused. Much like Paperback Writer, I’ve experienced a myriad of highs and lows. It’s not been fun. Getting out of the country helped a lot. If for nothing else to distract me. I didn’t have to hear daily how the publishing industry is falling apart. Instead, I listened to a recording by Michael Hague and Chris Vogler repeatedly. They were discussing how to deepen characterization and in turn the story. It wasn’t until I returned and the jet-lag began to fade that I realized what’s been missing from my YA. It was something so very obvious, yet I couldn’t see it. I think my face left permanent imprints on the glass it was pressed so close to it. Michael Hague and Chris Vogler had been repeating the information, but I wasn’t listening…until now. I’ve written 170 pages of the YA and will probably have to throw out 80% of it because the focus of the story has shifted. And that’s okay. I believe the changes that will come from fixing the missing elements will make the story stronger, better. The changes could be the difference between selling and not selling, but to be honest, I’m not worried about that now. I’d just like to finish the story to prove to myself that I can write in this genre.

This story started out as a straightforward YA fantasy romance. Through brainstorming, the plot deepened, becoming more complicated. I got feedback telling me that I needed to add more romance. That’s when things started to fall apart. (Do you think it’s a sign?) I tried so very hard to shoehorn this size nine story into that uncomfortable size five shoe. No matter what I did the story always seemed ‘off’ to me. I realized that while there will be romantic elements in this book that’s not what the story is about. Losing track of the true story you are trying to tell is one of the biggest time wasters for an author. It’s my fault. I never got the story straight in my head after all the changes were made. (I’m the type of writer who can’t write unless I have the story fairly straight in my head, especially the beginning and the ending. I knew that. And yet, I ignored it and surged ahead…straight into a wall of thick glass.) It’s been a hard lesson, but given what’s been going on in the industry, one I’d rather learn now when I don’t have a deadline.

I’ve started work on the new website. I’ll post the link to it here when it’s finished, but I won’t be posting links back to this site. I want them to remain separate. The new site is not for romance, not even paranormal romance. It will be for Urban Fantasy, YA, Horror, and experimentation. So it you aren’t into those genres or free-thinking exercises, then you should probably stick with reading this site. 🙂

4 comments to “Getting Ready For The Next Hill”

  1. 80%? Wow, that would qualify as a mountain. I’m glad you’re waiting a little before cutting into it. Maybe when you take another look it won’t be as far off track as you thought.

  2. Bernard,

    Sometimes it’s easier to start over again. Yes, it can be daunting, but it is not always a mountain. I will be able to salvage some things, but the changes I’m going to make are extensive. When you shift a story’s focus it can change the tone of the piece. I don’t come to this conclusion lightly, believe me, but the changes have breathed new life into me and the piece. So they are welcome.:)

  3. Finding the real story is worth throwing out the words and starting over for. There’s a whole world of story, and romance is just one genre. I think I’ll always write a romance element, but sometimes that isn’t the focus. Nothing wrong with that! Can’t wait to see your new site.

  4. Charli,

    It is definitely not always the story. I’m okay with that. This version goes far further into forwarding the bigger story arc.

    As for the new site, it is definitely plainer than this one. I’m not a designer, but at least it’ll function until I get better.