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.