Friday, June 1, 2012

When the Muse Smacks You in the Head, Listen!

So, for the last three days I've been working on Darkness Reborn, book four in my Order of the Blade series. I had copious amounts of notes and an extensive outline for the story, and I was ready to rock and roll. The first chapter was great. Super intense, dark, sexy... everything I wanted.

Then the second chapter started and it was great too...except I wasn't feeling it. I went back and forth over it for three days, trying to power my way through to keep writing, figuring that my issues were my normal birthing pains with a new book.

Then, this morning, I was so frustrated I felt like screaming. I just wasn't feeling that scene and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I decided to force it to happen, so I took myself and my computer to a new location, hoping that a new environment would help me see the story with fresh eyes and a clear mind.

Did it work?

No. I struggled there, as well. It just wasn't right, and I didn't know why!

I finally took a break for lunch and just shut my mind down. I reminded myself that I am a great writer, that I always figure this out, and that if I would just relax and chill out, I would know what to do.

And you know what? I finally figured it out! See, here was the problem. There is an event that needs to happen at the start of DARKNESS REBORN, a really intense, huge, life-changing event for the characters. My problem is that I wasn't setting that event up with enough at stake. I needed to dig deeper, to rip my characters hearts out and challenge them so intensely the entire earth will shake from the force of what happens to them. Usually, events of that intensity happen later in my books, when I have alot of time to build momentum, so that when they happen, the reader is so emotionally invested that they feel the force of the event all the way down to their souls. To have an event that powerful in the beginning of the story requires the right set up so the same intensity is achieved. If I don't go deep enough and get the reader emotionally invested enough, then the event will fall flat and the rest of the story will shrivel and die. I have to eviscerate everyone's soul's (the reader's and the characters') in the first five pages of the book so that the reader is gripping the book (or their ereader) so desperately that they are hanging on for dear life. Then, only then, will that event have the impact it needs to have.

Now that I realize that, I have to spend a little time brainstorming (again!) and then I'll need to go back and start over from the right place, and strike straight at the very souls of my characters and  bring them to their knees before the book even gets going.Sometimes, you just gotta be brutal to your characters.

Watch out Kane. Things are about to get rough, but damn, man, it's going to be a glorious ride. 


Phyllis M said...

Okay, so now I'm truly dying here wondering what earth shattering event is coming our way and Kane, {{sigh}} how is he gonna take it..or not....

Can't wait for this one.

Good writing Stephanie!

Stephanie Rowe said...

Hi Phyllis! Thanks for your note! Kane's in for a tough ride, but it's going to rock! :)

Holly said...

Well CRAP!! I am already gripping my seat and the book isn't even out yet. I know now though that I need to have my husband reinforce my chair so it can withstand this book =) Not worried though about the story, I KNOW you will pull it off as if you never had an issue at all with it!