Serendipity and All That
It's funny how when things don't go according to plan, what was intended for you gets delivered instead. I'm getting nowhere fast on my work in progress (WIP), My Absent Sister, despite thorough planning and research. I know my characters inside out. I had the notorious tricky middle sorted, and how it's going to end, including plot points coming to a satisfying conclusion. Though, not necessarily a happy ending. I even buckled down to write nearly 30 thousand more words in Devon recently, on a self imposed writing retreat.
The Dartmouth rental cottage where I was staying had repeated power cuts and the promised WiFi didn't happen (another story). I had a long list of Agents, and their individual requests, prepared for submitting The Longing. Without reliable WiFi I couldn't send emails. So frustrating at the time as I'd psyched myself up for the process. Fellow writers will understand! Pressing 'send' delivers all sorts of shivers and yet the rejections I can take ~ I've had some nice, encouraging ones that provided me with the motivation to keep going. Yet since Spring despite telling anyone that asked, yes I was submitting, I wasn't!
Earlier this year, a conversation with a fellow writer, who I'd randomly asked to read beginning of The Longing, offered some advice. The opening chapters were confusing. Long before, beta readers, not even Agents who had given feedback, had been this specific. Now I was the one confused! Were they right? Could they see something that others had missed? Advice can be given but doesn't have to be taken! Hmm, I began to ponder ~ maybe there was something in what they had said. However, I knew I had a good story waiting.
My subconscious has obviously been mulling over my writer friend's comments all this time. I awoke one morning last week and realised what the problem was. Eureka! I re-read my manuscript to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, there was the problem staring me in the face.
I had written two stories in one, and yes I know, you'd think I would've grasped the fact before now. Hindsight is a wonderful thing as they say.
The original premise of The Longing is the right one, but I wasn't telling quite the right story. I think I now know how to make it tighter, focusing on the right characters. So now I'm settling into a re-write and it feels great to do so. I'm excited by the task, it's a positive step. All I can say is, trust the right advice when it's being offered and trust your instincts. Go with what you feel is right ~ this change is a positive one. Lack of WiFi in the holiday cottage? Serendipity I'd say!