February 6th, 2008


I have a problem. (Okay, I have lots of problems, including the fact that I sorta forgot the start of Lent and hadn’t decided what to give up and so had to make a very-last-minute-not-very-well-thought-out-decision to sacrifice snacks. Okay, certain kinds of snacks. At certain times and on certain days. I may be regretting it already.)


But this other problem, the subject of this entry, is this:


I don’t like my characters to have problems.


Why should they be so lucky? you may ask. But aren’t problems the hub around which the plot turns? you may sputter.


Yeah, yeah, I know. And I try. And in the finalfinalREALLYfinal draft of my MG (unless it’s YA) fantasy novel, my MC did get into some trouble. She had some near confrontations, even. And she had a showdown with the villain. (Well, there’s been a showdown in every draft—but I feel compelled to list it here, anyway.)


But this week’s chapter-in-revision has been problematicker than most, by which I mean: instead of doing a deep revision, clean-up, add-in… I appear to have gotten stuck in a re-write. It’s a good thing (see previous entry). Except that my MC really needed to get in some trouble on her way from point A to point B, and somehow, that just wasn’t happening for me. Us. Her. Whatever.


So yesterday I got close: she and her companion spotted someone that they suspected might be trouble… but I knew otherwise. And probably an objective third-party reading the scene would have known otherwise, too.


My re-write trickled to a halt.


Today I woke up just feeling plain exasperated with myself. Why can’t they encounter someone who really is trouble, for the love of Dickens? Why can’t they get a little battered? How can she be a hero if she doesn’t have anything to hero about?


So this afternoon, it’s back to the notebook, pen in hand, trouble on my mind—and in my MC’s immediate future. The muses alone know where this could lead.

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