How a Straight Path Turned Into A Roundabout

Guys, I finally crossed the 10k mark on this new WIP!! *cues all the dancing and snacks* Normally I’d be scampering wildly through fields of adjectives and exclamation points, but this 10k has quite a different feeling.

You see, I already brought this WIP across the 10k mark once. Indeed we had crested the peak of 15k and we were fast approaching the mountains of 20k when lo, I realized I had no clue what was happening.

I’ve always been a pantser, and back in my early days clattering away on my Gateway by lamplight when I was supposed to be in bed, I had not the faintest clue what was going to happen in the book. And I loved it! I’ve steadfastly stood by my pantser status and even now the idea of a specific outline fills me with the heebie jeebies, but I have found it’s no longer entirely possible. I tried, I really did, but my sense of things not being right, of words not leading anywhere and motives too far buried to be useful was too strong. Even though it was Camp Nano and the urge to plug on was strong, I stopped for almost a week. I watched music videos, I read about ten books, I moaned and complained and read pretty much every post Susan Dennard has ever written on writing (she is a genius and amazing and I’m scared I’m going to get creepy stalker status but I can’t stop telling people how helpful her site is and how cool I think she is!), and then finally it all came together. I took several steps back, pouring my thoughts onto the page and all my questions, tearing apart goals and motivations and rifling around through all of it until I figure out who this character is and what it is she wants.

So here I am, at the end of April. I’ve written just under 35k this month on this WIP, and sadly I must wave farewell to almost 20k of it, at least in terms of Words That Make The Plot Go. But I’m really glad for those words, because they got my feet wet in this world I’ve dropped myself into, and more importantly, they gave me some assurances.

A road is just a road. If it’s not taking you to where you want to be, it’s the wrong road, even if it’s a nice paved avenue with well-grown trees and lovely Victorians lining it on either side. Sure, the dusty path through the woods is hardly as nice, but it might be the only way to get to the place you want to be. Listen to your gut. Be excited when you realize you’ve grown enough to know something doesn’t work. Take time, let the story grow as much as it needs to at each step. Sure, you might loop around a few times, but hey, the weather’s fine and time is going to do it’s thing no matter what so you might as well breathe a little and relax. As long as you keep your sights set on where you want to go, you’ll find your way eventually.

Side note: if you’re just super fascinated, here’s the pitch for my WIP 🙂 –

Marguerite Renchon has three lives.
In the first, she’s the daughter of a well-known British aristocrat and an avant-garde French inventor, brought up to smile and curtsy and accept her lot in the draft no matter her thoughts on the war.
In the second she’s the Metis bastard of an Indian woman and a failing French inventor with a wandering eye, pole dancing and stripping her way to an escape- from society, the draft, and a culture that refuses to acknowledge her existence.
In the third, she’s a revolutionary spy, luring away the secrets of the British and wealthy French and passing them to a ragtag band of militants hellbent on independence for the territories.
In all three lives, Marguerite loves a rich British boy in line to inherit his father’s business empire.
In all three lives, Marguerite has less than three weeks until her 18th birthday and the draft that will determine her role in a war not of her making.
In one life she’ll be betrayed.
In one life her heart will be broken.
In one life she’ll make a choice.
Marguerite’s three lives are about to collide.

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