Turns out my focus for this year’s NaNoWriMo project has shifted to the sequel to my YA fantasy. This was spurned on in part of the writing contest I entered, and the thought, Well, I think I might want to close this story out. It’s only been needing it for years. To prepare for it, I turned my focus to organizing the high speed train collision I call an outline into something more legible.
Even in its current format, I know the narrative is going to involve multiple POVs. Its predecessor certainly did. A story like this needs to be laid out that way. It’s not like Harry Potter, where the reader finds out about key things from Harry being someplace he shouldn’t be. I almost let one person’s opinion sway me about the inclusion of a set of scenes that took the story focus off the main characters. One of the things that turned me off from A Game of Thrones was the chapters devoted to characters I didn’t care for. But all those scenes served a purpose, even if I didn’t care what they involved. It’s the same with my own writing. I reinserted the scene and moved on. I need to stop treating other people’s opinions as gospel, especially since it was just ONE person. Now, if I had multiple readers who shared similar thoughts, then that’s the time to re-examine a scene.
The outline also revealed that the character arcs for my leads will be a little different from the first book. I left them both in a state of uncertainty that stays with them for most of the plot for the second one. I also discovered two antagonists experience redemption arcs. Can we say character development? Can we also say unexpected? Yes, we can. I love that even after all these years, characters continue to impress me. They count on me to be their representative to readers. I owe it to them to make sure they get the best. Even if it sometimes forces me to rethink subplots. But then, writing wouldn’t be half as rewarding if everything went according to plan.
Speaking of plans, outlining for the second half of Mermaid’s Courage has also resumed now that Sven and I agreed on a happy ending. I thought I would be upset over the ending change. Couldn’t be further from the truth. The story is supposed to bundle everything I love about romance into one package, which just so happens to include happily ever after. Oh, I don’t make it easy to get there. But the journey’s resolution is sure to resonate with readers. I don’t always need to capitalize on grief to earn a piece of immortality. Plus I can give them their seaside cottage and six kids because dammit, they deserve it.
I approach NaNo with great anticipation. Last year broke the lose-win-lose-win curse that’s been hanging over me since 2009. 2013 was especially refreshing since I won on a completely original idea rather than a rehash of an existing one. 2014 might drop me into familiar territory, but every word I type will be new. Bring on November!