Blindsided by Story

Working on The Silver Door, (Moon & Sun II, eleventy-somethingth title), and the coolest thing happened. I was filling in plot cards for the next section. Already had the card titles for everything, and I thought I knew who this one guy was.

But then I asked a single question. It turned out to be the right question. Turns out he wasn’t sent there to cause trouble. Instead, he’s a survivor from the time when humans still ruled the world. He was trapped by magic, and released by Genna and Catri. And, oh, WOW, the possibilities his arrival creates in the story.

I know how the second book ends now … I think. 😀 I thought I knew before, but over my little mini-vacation at Christmas, I realized that the old ending was preceded by chapters full of kids doing tedious things in tedious places, and that I was going to have to perform surgery.

Just finished the surgery. I threw out about half the plot cards and did a new plot from the point where I stopped liking the old one. (This is so much less painful than throwing out 60,000 words, my old method for fixing broken plots.)

I wrote out the new second half and the new ending. Much more exciting, full of cool conflict, betrayal, lies, danger, adventure, moonroading, magic, and The Cat. I’m excited again. Getting rid of the second half of the plot was like losing a house sitting on my shoulders. I feel free again.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

13 comments… add one
  • Cuyler Jan 5, 2008 @ 14:18

    I love it when it happens, I also sometimes dread it lol. I had a character for a story who was just suppose to be a healer lady. Instead she ended up knowing a lot more about a really bad situation in the land and ya, it started a whole bunch of crap for my main character that I didn’t need .now it looks like I’m going to have to get this lady killed before my whole story goes way off the way I want it. I really thought she was cool, but she was to damn nosy haha.

  • shawna Jan 1, 2008 @ 17:51

    Ran across a music website I thought you might be interested in if you haven’t seen it…

    amiestreet.com

    The business model intrigues me quite a bit… independant artists, song downloads start out free then increase as they get more downloads, users are rewarded for coming back and reviewing, and their reward is based on how high the price grows. (And they explain it onsite far better then I just did.)

    Of course, it has me imagining an ebook website set up with the same business model… wouldn’t that be fun and truly open to everyone? (And oh goodness, wouldn’t it be fun?) Might be more effective for shorter texts in the long run, but I bet there would be a core audience for longer length, too.

  • Keely Jan 1, 2008 @ 17:02

    Happy New Year, Holly!

  • Jack Dec 31, 2007 @ 15:59

    That’s great that it worked out so well for you. I might have to try this Plot Card method of yours. Is there an article on the site about it?

  • ron bruce Dec 29, 2007 @ 9:50

    Holly, that’s great you found a breakthrough on The Silver Door, isn’t that nice? Sounds like a successful surgery.

    I also just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying your mini plot class right now.

    I look forward to more of your advice so I can further prep for next year’s writing. Your Plot and Character Clinics are loaded with good stuff and I discover more things every time I open them up.

    Also your Culture and Language Clinics are proving helpful too and I didn’t think I’d need them at first…silly me.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  • hollylisle Dec 28, 2007 @ 16:14

    Thanks. I promise to get back to the Friday Snippets soon. I miss them. Have missed fiction, but I had something that had to be taken care of.

    I’ve been doing a lot of researching, and a fair amount of behind-stage work, but after … mmm … two months, I’m about to the point where I can put my focus back on fiction most of the time.

    What have I been doing?

    The very thing I’m considering putting together an e-book about–creating a passive income for yourself so that you can write books without worrying when the publisher will pay you. This is all stuff you can do before you sell your first novel, and I highly recommend that you do, for a lot of reasons, one of which is that novel-writing used to be the mecca for passive income, but royalties just don’t happen anymore. If I were trying to live on royalties, I’d still be a nurse.

    Could I continue to make my full-time living writing nothing but fiction?

    Yes. I’m already published, I have a good reputation for quality work on time, and I could pick up all sorts of non-fantasy projects that I could write under surnames, as work for hire, in publisher-owed series… There are a ton of ways to pay the bills writing fiction IF you’re already established.

    Do I want to do ANY of those things? No.

    I want to write, at most, two top-notch fantasy novels a year. Period. I don’t want to sweat bullets about paying the bills while I’m doing it.

    Hence my foray into the murky depths of internet marketing.

    I’ve come up with the following truths about creating a passive income online. (Little-T truths, not big-T TRUTHS.)

    1. It’s entirely possible to create good products that people like, treat people well, and not be a scumbag while doing internet marketing. You simply have to choose to be that person, and not The Hype God.
    2. It is entirely possible to create a replacement income for yourself in a relatively short time (how short depends on how hard you’re willing to work to set it up, how much money you need to replace, and the usual intangible factors)
    3. There’s a lot of information out there about HOW to do this
    4. Some of it is really excellent
    5. Most of it is crap
    6. The initial passive-income creation phase (in my case, about two months worth of it), was a lot of work
    7. It didn’t need to be as much work as I made it
    8. Overall, it would work for anyone, though different parts would work better for different people
    9. The HARD work is just about done

    I anticipate, in my just-about-finished work calendar for the next year, spending about two hours a day writing, followed by about two hours a day working to create additional passive income. I plan to take the rest of my time off.

    When I finish it, I’ll put up my work schedule here.

  • cherylp Dec 28, 2007 @ 15:01

    I hope you post some Friday snippets soon!

  • Chassit Dec 28, 2007 @ 14:57

    Awesome Holly! That’s the greatest feeling of the world, when your story surprises you. I can’t wait to read The Ruby Key

  • PolarBear Dec 28, 2007 @ 14:22

    Wow! I love it when that happens.

  • Jess Dec 28, 2007 @ 13:45

    That’s fabulous. I wish it would happen to me! (I really ought to go buy Plot Clinic.)

    I’m excited for Ruby Key – it’s up on Amazon, but not my preferred BN.

  • BJSteeves Dec 28, 2007 @ 12:26

    Wow!…I hope that my muse will wake up and do that to me. Sounds very exiting!

  • D.RobertPease Dec 28, 2007 @ 11:28

    There is no better feeling to me than to have a character “speak” to you. Tell you he is not who you thought he was. I love that. To me stories are so much richer if you allow those little voices in your head to help you go places you never planned to go.

  • TinaK Dec 28, 2007 @ 10:45

    Ohhh…it’s so exciting to hear about this story again. And The Cat. Love the idea of The Cat. 🙂

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