Paula wonders how to sort out her story!
I’m on the third draft of my current story. In the first
draft, the heroine broke her ankle and had to stay at the hero’s house, which admittedly
resulted in some interesting scenes. However, by about Chapter 13 or 14 (approx.
50,000 words), I realised a broken ankle was too restricting for the heroine.
She couldn’t recover from it in a couple of weeks (unlike some of the
‘miraculous’ cures we see in the soap operas), so it was time for a rethink.
Second draft – sprained ankle – less serious – but again, by
the time I got to the dreaded Chapter 13, I decided the story was going
nowhere. It was a ‘how we met and fell in love’ scenario, with internal
conflicts for both hero and heroine i.e. why neither of them wanted to be
involved in any new relationship, but no real external conflicts.
Even I was yawning at this plot!
After doing the edits for ‘Irish Inheritance’, my editor
suggested the possibility of a spin-off story about Charley (the
heroine’s best friend).
Can I move this story to Ireland instead of the English Lake
District? Can I change the heroine’s name to Charlotte (Charley)?
More to the point, can I lift this story from the ‘meeting
and falling in love’ scenario into something more interesting?
Thinking about a title for this spin-off, I came up with ‘Irish
Intrigue’. So that meant I had to work out the ‘intrigue’ part of it. With the
help of a friend (a non-writer but a great brain-stormer!), I came up with various
ideas - plus some possible red herrings to keep the reader wondering.
It all seemed to be working well – until I hit the dreaded
Chapter 13 again! I know (roughly!) how the later chapters are going to pan out,
but now I’m stuck with this ‘sagging middle’ syndrome where I’m trying to work
out how to get my characters from where they are at the moment to where I want
them to be eventually. I’ve tried writing a list of the main turning points –
and then moving them around. It’s rather like one of those 'sliding tile puzzles'
where you move tiles in a small square in the hope of getting them all in the
right places to complete the picture.
At the moment, my story is rather like this picture – and I’m
wondering if I can ever get all the ‘tiles' into the correct places!