Okay, so I sat down two weeks ago to try to figure out what was “off” about the part of this book I’ve done so far. My mind was blank. I sat down a couple days ago. Same thing happened. Then I sat down with it again today. My mind is still blank.
I’m starting to think I need a different plot. My original idea was that Richard Larson had to marry Amanda to protect her. And the bulk of the plot hinged on him loving another woman, and Amanda had been pining for him for years. But guess what?
I just did a story where the hero had wanted to marry someone else but got the heroine instead. This is His Convenient Wife. Granted, the plot isn’t exactly the same. There is nothing that happened to Harriett that prompted Stan to protect her. But the bulk of the plot for Wagon Trail Bride is similar enough to His Convenient Wife where it is pointless to write it out a second time. And honestly, I am so happy with the way His Convenient Wife turned out, I don’t see how I can top it in another book.
So yeah, I need another direction to go. But I don’t know what that direction is going to be.
Usually, I have the idea before I fit the characters to the book. This was one situation where I had the characters in mind first. I just can’t come up with a reason why Richard and Amanda leave New York to go with his family to Omaha. I know it happens. I just don’t know why.
What I’m going to do over the next month or two is sit down and write out a list of all possible plots I haven’t done yet but would like to try. I might start with a list of things I don’t want first. Maybe doing something that is the opposite will spur an idea.
The last thing I want to do is write a book for the sake of writing the book. I need to be excited about it. If I can’t get excited about it, then it’s going to suck, and there’s no point in writing a ho-hum book. I realize not all of my books are my absolute favorites, but I enjoyed writing every single one of them. I never want to compromise and write something I secretly think is mediocre. I want to give every book I write the best I have. I need to be passionate about it.
Sometimes no matter how hard an author tries, a character might not have a story worth writing. I’ll see if I can work something with Richard Larson and Amanda, but if I keep running into brick walls, I’m going to have to put it in the “maybe someday in the future” file. I don’t like to ever close myself off completely from a character, so I always leave the option open. But the reality is, I have some characters whose stories I will never write.
Sometimes part of writing is learning when to say, “You know what? This isn’t going to work, and I need to do something else.” Quitting doesn’t always mean failure. Sometimes it means there’s something else better to do.
So I’ll give it another try, but I can’t promise anything.
When I’m stuck on a story, I go back and try to find the exact moment where I felt like the plot was derailed. Then when I figure that out, I try revising it. Maybe you could try that as well. Good luck.
I do that if I like the beginning a lot and got lost somewhere in the middle. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. It’s a good technique.
Maybe you need to send what you have to some readers who can give you an honest critique about where you have it going now and where it could possibly go??? People who are familiar with your books but not in your normal circle of writing compadres.
I have done that in the past when I got halfway into a couple of books and got stuck. That method worked really well. My problem with this book is that the very little I have done (2.5 chapters) isn’t appealing to me at all. I don’t care for any of it. I feel like I was outside the characters when I wrote it instead of being emotionally connected to them. So if I don’t care about them and what is happening, then why would someone else? 😀
I really think I need a different plot. The part where Amanda was pining for him for years but him not feeling the same way isn’t working, and that is where I start the book. So I think in this case, I need to scrap it and start over.
The plot you described has been done in at least a couple of tv movies. Love Comes Softly is one. Can’t remember the name of the second one off the top of my head. If you saw those, maybe that’s why your storyline isn’t feeling quite right. Setting your story aside for awhile might best, and when you pick it back up sometime in the future, the fix may come to you. Amazingly, however, as I read your post, I came up with an idea for a possible book/story for me to write! I’ve been following all your new writer posts so….who knows?
I know. It’s been done a lot, and maybe that’s why it’s not attractive to me. Besides, I just did the whole “heroine in love with hero who rejected her in the past in favor of trying to be with someone else” in the book I just finished. I’d like something else. 🙂
Setting it aside is definitely one of my things to do if the brainstorming doesn’t work. Sometimes books just aren’t ready right away.
Awesome on getting an idea for your own story! I’m glad my post inspired the idea. 😀
Hmm … that’s quite the dilemma, isn’t it? Since it’s a romance, why not go back to the roots? Forget about the plot and concentrate on your protagonists. Get into his head, then her head — just write like you are them, explore who they are, why they are where they are, and what they want. And then maybe something will spark and you’ll have your plot 🙂
That’s a good idea. I’ll give it a try. 🙂
First of all…there is really no new plots. Just about everything has been done, so all we can do is write variations of them. However, when the plot is close to the same as one of your OWN books, then I can see why it doesn’t work for you. Especially since His Convenient Wife is so good. If you have to set it aside, then do it. Move on to something else. You never know, one day the plot may just come to you. Then you can run with it!
I can’t remember the exact number of how many plots there are, but it’s not that much. If I hadn’t just used the idea, I would probably be more inclined to write it, but His Convenient Wife turned out a lot better than I expected. I think I’d be disappointed in it. For the moment, I have put it aside, but I’ll give it one more brainstorming session before I give up and set it aside for a long period of time.