Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back to the Drawing Board

Several years ago I started writing a fantasy prequel to a novel I'd completed. I took a break and wrote my chick lit because the romance was flowing and the fantasy was not. Once I'd finished the chick lit I thought it would be easy to get back into the fantasy. It was and it wasn't. I had the drive to write but the story just wouldn't budge. I wrote chapters - invented whole new scenes I hadn't planned on writing - but the actual story just wouldn't move forward.

So I decided it was a flawed idea and quit. Or thought that perhaps the idea was simply too big and I didn't have the skills to write such an epic story at this point in my career.

I've since come to the conclusion that I was too hasty in that pronouncement. The problem was: my timeline was simply too long. The chick lit took place within a few months. My previous fantasy was just over one month in duration - from the start of the novel until the end. This fantasy had the temerity of taking place over several years - years in which nothing happened. So there was a lot of detailed action, nothing and then more detailed action. I simply couldn't figure out how to make that 'nothing happened' realistic while at the same time explaining that, yes, of course stuff DID happen, it just wasn't important enough to write about.

The solution? Reduce the timeline. Why does this war have to take place over 8 years? Can't things progress faster while still showing the horrors of what war can do? Yes. It won't be a short timeline - it is a war after all - but it will be a timeline I can confidently write. This novel has too many good elements for me to simply toss it by the wayside. A few days to reconsider my outline, and then I can get to writing again!