The award-winning-based-on-the-first-twenty-pages fantasy romance has crossed the 60,000-word line. I was feeling fairly productive until I got to another “they need to get from Point A to Point B” scene and came to a screeching halt for a week. I’m frequently derailed by that type of scene, and it usually turns out in revision that the story is better served by a scene break and “When they arrived at Point B…,” but all that “show your work” garbage from elementary school did lasting damage to my brain that no amount of writing experience can repair.
In this case, however, the problem was solved by converting the transition into a chase/fight scene. They had recently evaded pursuers, and their getaway was a little too tidy (despite taking them into a sewer), so it was a good time to remind everyone of the temporary nature of all reprieves. The chase/fight also starts because of what Hero got up to while their errands separated them rather than Heroine’s ongoing fugitive status, which (a) makes Hero a little more interesting and (b) gives me a marketing angle (“If you want to know how he pissed off an entire city in two hours, sign up for my newsletter to get an exclusive short story!”).
I also appear to have introduced a new plot thread, which a rough draft that’s 60K words before the midpoint really does not need, but it would develop a throwaway element mentioned earlier, and I’m a sucker for resonance. If it stays, I’ll have to figure out which antagonistic party wants the thing Heroine lost during the chase, why they want it, and whether that’s an in-this-book or later-in-series issue. On the bright side, if I don’t figure it out, deleting three sentences will fix it, which is infinitely easier than any problem I have to write my way out of.
I enjoy solving the problems! The trouble with writing problems, though, is that many “solutions” actively create new problems that will have to be dealt with when writing future scenes, and you can’t know until revision whether many other “solutions” were brilliant or disastrous in the context of the whole. It’s one long “oh god, what have I gotten myself into” process, met many days with pure, unproductive dread.
And I’ve been doing it since 1996. *weary sigh*