What I'm reading: Worth Dying For, by Lee Child
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In conjunction with Read an eBook week, which runs from March 6-12, I'm offering WHEN DANGER CALLS for FREE at Smashwords. Use coupon code RE100. And don't forget to check out my March contest--an ARC of WHERE DANGER HIDES, the sequel to WHEN DANGER CALLS, could be yours.
Why I will never write out of order again.
If you've been following my posts, you'll know I've been working on edits for my WIP. This one is kind of a departure, because for the first time, I've given my villain a POV. Although this slides it across the mystery boundary into "suspense" territory, it seemed a given. The heroine is running from an abusive husband. She's got something he wants. Stands to reason he's going to be looking for her. There's nothing "secret" about who he is, and allowing him a few POV scenes can ratchet the tension.
Now, when I started writing (non-plotter, remember?) I didn't know I was going to bring Victor into the book at all, much less as a POV character. But about 5 chapters in, I hit a wall and letting him have his say seemed a way through it.
Side note: A lot of times, it helps to write something, even though it won't end up in the book. You need to get in touch with your characters, and this can help. The late Barbara Parker suggested this to me when we were talking about my early draft of Finding Sarah. I told her I'd been playing around with a short story based on Sarah's history with her husband before he died. She encouraged me—quite enthusiastically—to pursue it, saying that once I "knew" how Sarah felt, it would come through in the rest of the book. So don't shy away from writing—it falls under that "you can't fix a blank page" dictum.
Okay, so I found discovering more about what made Victor tick helped me. A side benefit was that he was fun to write. I'd never been inside the head of one of my nasties before.
Fast-forward to more writing. Now that I'd established Victor's call to action, I (obviously) needed more than one chapter/scene showing his progress. But I was writing them when I'd get stuck with my hero and heroine, or while I was researching something and had to wait for the answers. In short, Victor's scenes were written when I felt like writing them. My naïve assumption was that when I finished the book, I'd go back and weave them in where they belonged.
Ha! First, in my editing process, I simply pulled Victor's pages aside. I noted the plot points as I did with all my other chapters and duly noted them on my Post-Its. But in reading the chapters, I discovered I couldn't keep the overall book chronology intact by simply slipping a chapter where it should fit. Victor was doing things in his chapters that covered far too much time, even given the short overall timeframe of a romantic suspense.
My solution? I took a different colored Post-It pad and went back to my "idea board" system. I wrote down everything that had to happen—basically, plot points, since technically, I'd already written these scenes.
Next, I went to my tracking board, where I'd dutifully been affixing my scene summaries, and figured out where each of the things Victor was doing would fit into the chronology. Likewise, I had to consider when a lot of the information would best be revealed. If Victor is hiring a PI, then we need to see it before the main plot mentions the discovery that he's done so.
All in all? A rewriting headache. Bits and pieces of Victor scenes will have to be revised, rewritten, moved, or cut altogether. And it means a very careful tracking of chronology and plot points.
Now, just like there are authors who outline and plot, I know there are many authors who have no trouble bouncing around in time while they're writing. I've just discovered I'm not one of them.
Tomorrow my guest is Maris Soule, who's going to be giving away an ARC of her newest release. Her topic, writing and moving, is one I can relate to. Be sure to check back. And, all week, Barbara Vey is having her 4th anniversary bash at her Publisher's Weekly Beyond Her Book blog. I'll be in and out all day tomorrow when the blog will take place at a murder scene, featuring authors of Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Adventure. Graham Harrigan of my NOWHERE TO HIDE will be there, too, with his Death By Chocolate Cake. Stop by for some fun.