Archive for April, 2011

My Problem

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

I tried to work more on my new outline last night and got nowhere. My plan was to flesh out some of the bullet points I added last week and make sure the story was flowing correctly. But then I got hung up on the first five "finished" chapters and worried (once again) that they weren't drawing the reader in quickly enough. Although I'd greatly picked up the pace from earlier drafts, they were still missing that spark. I've got to plop my protagonist directly into the middle of something.

And not just any "something" which is what I have now. Something unusual and curious: thirteen dwarves showing up unexpectedly for tea, four Preferiti missing in a race against time, fairy-tale creatures relocated to an ogre's swamp. The story has to begin immediately. There can be no long, drawn-out set up.

In my favor, I finally have a good solid backstory. At last, I possess greatly matured motivations for each character. And to top it all off, I have the build-up and ending that I envisioned from the beginning (not the ugly, tight corner I painted myself into during the first draft). So now I just need to pull it all together. I have to tell a story, and that is, as I've now proven repeatedly, something I can't do.

But I'm not going to let that stop me. That's what we're going to fix. I've slowly realized over the last two and a half years that my problem is, in a word, realism. My stories are just like real life, and real life is boring. Events unfold logically and methodically. That doesn't make for interesting reading. Take this current book for example. My protagonist makes an appearance in the Special World. Then another. Then several more. Each time a small, measured amount of story is doled out, but nothing is happening. My story is like a carefully designed PowerPoint presentation: each slide dispensing the required amount of information, and no more. I might as well write a history textbook.

So that's what I need to change. And fast.

Wish me luck.

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