Friday, November 23, 2007

When Your Characters Are Smarter than You Are...Listen!

Betcha thought I'd be so stuffed with turkey and trimmings today, I'd forget to post. No such luck :)!

As you know, I started working in earnest on revamping Unbridled last week. My goal was to have a revised version ready for submission to agents/editors by the end of March.

I rewrote the synopsis last week and started writing the new scene that I thought would mark the end of the partial. It was supposed to feature lots of sexual tension between the hero and heroine, plenty of angsty conflict, and end with a kiss. In the synopsis, it looked like the scene made perfect sense and would make an excellent turning point in the romance as well as the plot.

But when I sat down to write, Patrick and Rosalind flat-out refused to cooperate. Hard as I tried to tap into their feelings of frustration and jealousy and distrust, I couldn't. Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make them feel those things--yet.

After fighting with the scene for four days, I gave up. I was trying to force a square peg in a round hole for the sake of what I thought would make a good scene because it would have lots of conflict. But the characters just weren't there in their relationship yet, so even though I wrote the conflict, the emotion fell flat.

I felt pretty depressed about the whole thing all day yesterday (but not enough to spoil my appetite, LOL, and I'm lugging around a couple of extra pounds to prove it!). I couldn't see how to push the story and the romance forward without that scene. At the same time, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was the wrong scene for these characters at this point in their story. (And maybe ever. The truth is, my characters don't fight with each other nearly as much as they fight their inner demons.)

The Magical Mulch Pile(TM) was looking pretty good, but I thought maybe I should purloin a h/h scene from the original manuscript that I really liked and see if I couldn't find a way to use it at this point in the story. I did my cut and paste job, read through the scene, loved it just as much as I always had, but still wasn't sure how to make it fit.

Ten minutes ago, it hit me. I know what comes next. It changes parts of the story downstream (hello, synopsis...again!) but it's I think exactly what the story needs. Before, the heroine she was just waiting for the axe to fall. Now, she's getting her own axe. Plus, it's funny. Potentially very funny.

So, bottom line, I'm all excited again. Yay!


Courtney Milan said...

Oh, and that sounds so delicious. You're making me hungry.... for text, of course. I've had enough turkey. ;)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Yay! I love it when the story comes together, especially when you've been wrestling with it for a while. =o)

lacey kaye said...

Sounds perfect! I wonder which scene it is.

When do I get another CY? Huh? Huh?

Tessa Dare said...

Oh, I have been there. And recently. It's miserable when you can't see your way around a problem, and such a relief when the answer finally comes to you.

I'm with you - I've tried to write scenes before because I thought or someone suggested that it would be good to have my characters do X. And then my characters rebelled. Like it was suggested to me, by a couple of people, that in GOTH Lucy should realize she's in love later, more gradually. And even though I saw their point with respect to her character arc, I just couldn't make it work. In my mind, there was no way Lucy would get married without believing herself to be in love. She just wouldn't. So the scene is still pretty much the same.