Planning is hard work!
It’s been a busy weekend. I’ve planned the work I need to do to transform a small garden shed into a writing room, and I’ve done more planning for my new story, a Christmas themed romantic novella.
I almost have my full shopping list of what I need to buy to fix the shed, I just need to do the sums to work out how much of the timber I need to buy. Insulation, tongue and groove spruce cladding boards to paint a light sunny cream, trim for the edges, perpex to reglaze and double glaze the windows. A big sheet of white coated mdf or similar for the desk, stretching wall to wall, then white bookshelves down either side right up to the door. Touches of bright lime green and turquoise in the accessories. Cork tiles to use as a pinboard between the desk and a high bookshelf.
I can see how it will look finished. I just hope my skills are up to the job of transforming it!
I’ve decided to leave starting work on this until July. Two reasons- I won’t start the part-time job until mid-July, and I started the new novella with a deadline of July 10. Meeting the deadline will be tough enough without taking more time off from it to work on the shed.
And I’ve just realised tonight while doing the homework for the writing course I’m doing, Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways, what it is that’s been niggling me about the story over the past two days. I’m doing lesson 4, Good to Great. I knew I had a good idea, yet I couldn’t get it to work in a way that felt right to me.
In the past week, since I read the Entangled Call for Submissions, I’ve written nearly 6000 words of notes. I’ve almost completely filled in a Beat Sheet (word counts tweaked for a short novella length) and GMC charts for each character (fabulous ones, I’ll post them here as soon as I get time). I wrote the first 1500 words of the story. But I knew I didn’t have it quite right. My instinct was telling me the story was somehow off, like a wobbly unbalanced wheel, but I couldn’t figure out why or where.
I thought the problem was that I didn’t have a good enough handle on the ending. It was too dependent on outside factors, and not driven enough by decisions the characters make, the emotional growth that’s needed so they can have their happy ever after. I asked before I went to bed for the answer to be in my mind when I woke up. I slept badly, my mind was too active on a million and one things that had nothing to do with the story. I woke up and started morning pages and didn’t have a clue about what the story needed. My mind seemed a total blank.
I asked again anyway. And out it came. the perfect ending to the story. Even five or six hundred words of actual story. Fast and effortless and exactly what the story needed. Amazing. I love it when that happens.
But something still nagged at me, felt off. Not the ending, something else.
Tonight I figured it out. I completely misunderstood my heroine and her motivation and what Christmas meant to her and what that song meant to her (the brief is to write a short romantic novella based on the song Santa Baby). I didn’t have the hero right, either. I have to scrap my first idea of who she is and who he is, and almost do a 180 on it, but it’s right. It makes sense of the story. It fits the ending and the middle I see.
So strange how that happens, but I know it’s right. The story developed way past my initial very literal conception of her character and how she related to the song, but I clung on to it anyway and tried to shoehorn it into the story it didn’t fit any more.
Now all the pieces click together, with that lovely satisfying clunk, I can really start to write. I have the feeling this story could be less of a challenge than turning the interior below into a cosy all year round writing space!