As of writing this post, I’m 17k words into The Rebel’s Hero, which is about 24% toward my word count goal. Without fail, when I get to this percentage mark, I get cold feet. I don’t know why. It’s very frustrating. I start to doubt my ability to write, to craft characters, to weave details, to drive the plot forward. I think this is because the beginning is complete. Now the meat of the story takes over, the plot thickens, and more questions are thrown to the reader.
I’m standing in place, deer in the headlights, frightened by this monstrous train called The Rebel’s Hero steaming full blast down the tracks because even though I’ve set up a good story with a multitude of questions I need to answer throughout the plot…
I still don’t know what The Question is. What am I trying to answer with this work? What is my big question that I’m struggling to explore and engage?
Peeking over shoulders
Do other authors do this? I feel like they do. I think MJ Rose explores the question of “what if the paranormal were real?” Her form of paranormal is more of the mundane… reincarnation, hypnotism, etc. Her fiction is fascinating, deep, driven. Joan Reeves, highlighted at The Book Designer last week, asked the question “Why would a woman marry a man for money?” and was surprised when her book was labeled a romance.
Sometimes crafting fiction feels backwards. I know I write romances, sweet though they may be. But maybe I should stop worrying about the genre, since I already know that’s what I gravitate to. Instead, I should worry, what is my question?
Exploring the space
I write this blog to be transparent about the writing process. It isn’t easy, and sometimes, it isn’t fun. I look to my previous fiction to remind myself that I’ve done this before, and I can do it again. Catching the Rose asks the question “what would you do to find your first love?” Haunting Miss Trentwood asks “what do you do after your parents have died?” Mad Maxine, my short story, asks “what happens when you don’t let go?”
I’ve blogged about The Big Question before in terms of individual characters, but for the plot? Here is a list of questions The Rebel’s Hero could be about…
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- Why would a woman marry a man with no memory?
- What would you do to escape an arranged marriage?
- What would you do to help a man in need?
- What would you do to regain your memory?
I think the last one might be a winner. Throw the question into the Civil War, add the Underground Railroad, and I just might be able to pull this off. After all, it always feels impossible until it is done.