Some of you have heard me complain about writing myself in circles in this second book. Well, I decided to tackle that problem once and for all--while I was at the gym. (And I mean figuring it all out at the gym, while walking on the treadmill.)
Today it finally hit me: I needed to answer a few questions. I need to set the story up just right so that my MC can take me along for the ride without me having to do any major road-building. Now, I went to the gym armed to the teeth with info and had just read a research paper on the frankincense trade and ordered myself an incense burner and a pack of "gourmet" frankincense...so my mind was "in the mood." All I needed now was a reason for why my MC was going to do the things I wanted him to do. I needed a mystery, a deadline, and a few other things.
So as I walked at a fairly fast pace (and tried to ignore the super-skinny long-haired blonde running at 7mph right next to me), I thought it out. I stared outside and tried to feel the heat of the Yemeni desert. I asked my MC what his story was.
And then it came to me. Ahah! I was so excited I almost fell off the treadmill. (And the blonde stared at me like I was crazy b/c I was trying to write while exercising.)
Now I can answer the questions that have been posted next to my desk for months. They're a great guide. I got them from somewhere (I forget where, now)...maybe Cheryl Klein's website?
1. What does your main character really want?
2. Why can't your MC have it?
3. What will happen if your MC doesn't get what s/he wants? (What are the stakes?)
4. How does your MC struggle to get what s/he wants?
5. When is the situation hopeless? (When can you not put the book down?)
6. When is the tension relieved?
7. What is surprising about the ending?
Ok, so I can't rightfully answer 5-7 yet, but I have an idea of what that'll be. I even have a place in mind (geographically). Phew! So although I haven't cranked out draft one this summer like I had hoped, at least I'm on the right track. It's been hard just trying to find my keys lately, much less the rest of my brain, so I'm proud I accomplished this much.
And just so ya know, all of the walking has not helped the preggo pain at all. In fact, now I feel like a Barbie doll whose legs are being pulled apart by a three-year-old.