Having recovered from the crotchety incidents of recent weeks (including, but not limited to, evil email, cranky voicemail, a broken stove knob, earwigs (how do they grow so big? And why are some of them albino? They are just the creepiest, creepiest bugs ever), and discussions of death, I set to work on the revision of the revised rewrite of my MG (unless it’s YA) fantasy novel yesterday.
This is a manuscript that has been in flux for a few years. (I would tell you how may if I knew. Maybe four. Maybe six. I’m not at all sure. But I wasn’t working on it chronically the whole time.) And I always liked the world I created, and I always felt kindly toward my characters (not the villain, of course), and I always, always had trouble with the plot—mostly because there wasn’t enough trouble in it.
That has changed. There’s an old boyfriend, and an old friend who might become a boyfriend. There’s a natural disaster. There’s a tyrant. There’s a Mean Girl (and brother, is she mean!). There are thoughtless parents. There’s a murder. There’s a riot.
This plot is hopping!
And yet… it seemed to me that there was still more trouble my MC could get into. After all, she’s a short-tempered girl on a short leash, and the world around her is rockin’ and rollin’ (sometimes literally, sometimes less so).
So yesterday I sat me down with my printed pages and my spiral-bound notebook, and I wrote in some angry villagers (don’t worry, no pitchforks!) who had been in previous drafts, and really, really needed to come back. And they wrought havoc. And my MC was beyond distressed. And you know what? I felt great.
So here’s my new theory:
While I do not seek out conflict in real life, it is sometimes necessary to face it in order to decimate it.
While I plan to resolve conflict in my fiction, I must introduce it at every opportunity (and where there is no opportunity, I must create one).
All this, without a therapist! (I think I’ll save my money for professional help with the earwigs instead.)