by Kate Collier (aka Katie O’Boyle)
Several times this fall I heard the phrase, “If you’re spinning your wheels with a book, maybe you’re writing the wrong story.” Since I had made two failed attempts at Book Two, a murder mystery featuring by soulmate sleuths Lyssa and Kyle Pennington, and since I was deep into a third attempt that wasn’t going well, I set the book aside for a few weeks before my recent trip to Europe.
The huge shift in perspective brought the “right story” into focus for me. The key had been there all along, but I couldn’t see it. While Kyle’s role as technical genius was clear to me, I’d handicapped Lyssa with one unnecessary complication after another.
All along, I should have gone with my instinct about the right foil for Lyssa as she investigates the suspects. In an early draft of the book, I had brought in Natalie Horowitz, Lyssa and Kyle’s neighbor in Book One, without knowing how or even if I would use her. In fact, she’s the perfect character for Lyssa to bounce off ideas as she plots her strategy.
For anyone that’s gotten stuck with a plot, I’m not suggesting you need a trip to Europe to figure it out! What I really needed was a mind-opening break from the book. Then I was able to accept I was “writing the wrong story” and let the characters speak to me about how they wanted to proceed. Now I wake up excited about rolling up my sleeves and getting to work!
In the few days left in 2015, please share your thoughts and experience with “getting unstuck” with a work-in-progress.