There are those days when James and I go and grab one of the study rooms at the nearby college, the one with the dry erase walls, of course, and I spend a couple of hours mapping out the story on my mind that particular day. I feel like I’ve got it all figured out.
So then, inspired, I rush home to work on what we mapped out–and then realize I’ve got a problem. I know where A is, and I know where B is, but I don’t know how to connect the two.
Yes, its easy to know where you are and where the story is going to go but knowing how to connect all these dots is rather tricky.
This character comes in here, because you need them for this later on. But when do they come in? How? Do they stand out immediately or does it take time?
In a mystery, you’ve also got the problem of having clues. You might know your climax. (Correction, you might think you know your climax and then your editor takes great pleasure in telling you that you don’t. Or he lets you go about rewriting it three times until he is satisfied. But that’s neither here nor there.)
How do you connect those pieces, those clues? They’re important; they tell your story, and they give your readers a chance to (maybe) figure out who did it before your main character (or you) figure it out.
So what do you do? How do you go from A to B?
That’s a question I ask myself all the time.
One thing to do is, potentially, have some character moments. Especially if you’re like me, and you’re writing the first full-length work in a series, you need to give people a chance to get to know the character they’ll be seeing a lot of over the next few years.
Give them a sense of setting, a sense of back story. Set up the your character and her world.
Why is she there at that time?
What was she doing there?
Or, if your character stays in one place, give us info about it. Towns can give a lot of useful information; maybe something in there, somewhere, will help you to figure out how to get your main character where they need to go.
I’ll admit this: switching gears from a short story to a full length work can be hard. The rules are a bit different when you think about it. 10 thousand word stories do leave room for fluff, 5 thousand does not.
But still they don’t leave nearly as much room as stuff 15 thousand or higher. A full length novel is considered to be works over 50 thousand in some circles.
That’s a lot of words.
My problem is that I often see scenes I’m nowhere near and I don’t want to necessary write immediately (though I have on occasion), because the story could take a different path.
That’s been my struggle this week. It’s an endless struggle to get Rosella from where she is now, to where she needs to be (without the literary equivalent of a contextless jump cut). I did set up her characterization in Midnight, but here she has a chance to shine and show you guys that she’s able to reach those very big dreams she has.