My husband saved my life today.
Okay, maybe not technically, but it sure feels like he drug me out of the pounding surf or right out from under the clutches of a raging blizzard.
I am at the last of my WIP and for several days, have been spinning my wheels as I tried to put the events of the last two chapters in their proper place. I knew something was wrong. I knew I had too many people in too many places with too few pages to wrap things up the way I wanted. The false conclusion wasn't leading to the real conclusion in the way in which I wanted.
Forgive me here for two diversions:
#1.) I still, STILL, do not know the right way to phrase things. I am not sure if the black moment comes before the something else or after it or what it means -- I am hereby announcing my independence from this stuff. I know what is right for my books even if I can't remember what to call it. So, please, I'm tired of feeling inferior. I know how to do it, and that is going to have to be enough.
#2.) For those of you still waving the banner of "No Synopsis, Never Surrender!" I laugh. Ha, ha, ha. To think a synopsis is going to ruin things for you as a writer (as in suck your creativity) is so silly I must pause just for a second to laugh again. Ha, ha, ha. I have the most beautiful synopsis you can ever want and it made sense enough to sell the book with nary a change and yet the ending in the synopsis makes no real sense in the execution. It just sounded good. It hit the right emotional buttons and perhaps, by now, my editor has faith in me. (She doesn't read this blog, does she???) Repeat after me: The synopsis is a selling tool. And most of us are going to need to know how to do one if we are going to sell books without writing them first. Some of you may be so brilliant you will not need to acquire this skill. Good for you. The rest of us have to get real.
Back to the husband saving me. There I was, drowning in words, too much plot, too many people, not enough pages. My head was too full. I couldn't even articulate to myself (and I am a dandy listener) what was wrong.
Then, I remembered an old trick I taught myself a couple of years ago. I remembered to look at the whole thing from the villain's POV. In my book, I am not in the villain's POV, I am in the hero's and heroine's. So, I tend to see things as they unfold and reveal themselves to those two characters. But my little villain has his own goals and motivations and within his character arc, he is going to act with logic.
Diversion #3.) Okay, we're all on the same page when it comes to logic, right? It matters. Even if you have a twisted plot involving murder and kidnapped babies and foundering sailboats and trips halfway around the world and castles and kings, even if that sounds goofy, the people within this story are going to act with logic. You can't make something exciting happen for the pure pleasure of something exciting happening unless it fits. This is a depressing but true fact.
So, now I knew how to approach my problem but I was missing a vital element that I have discussed here before but which I believe deserves revisiting: I needed a sounding board. So the dh got home from his trip and almost immediately allowed me to sit him down and tell him the set up and the chain of events and how everyone within my story got to the boiling point. He offered a suggestion. I shot it down like a hunter after a duck in a November sky. I told him something else. He made another observation. This one wasn't so bad. I recalled my earlier commitment to think of things through the villain's POV and it all kind of started to make sense.
So, no more spinning. I know where I am going.
You need someone who will listen to you, someone you respect, someone who respects you. Someone not afraid to offer suggestions, even if he does include corny dialogue (sorry, honey). Someone who understands who's boss of this pretend world or otherwise they will pout when you shoot them down. And lastly, you need to LISTEN to them because they very well might see something you missed or give what you have a turn or twist. Spinning wheels can sling a lot of dust into the air and sometimes it's hard to see through it.