And then there were none….

Well, not precisely “none”. They’re all still there, those 35,000-plus words in the latest writing project. However, as I was cranking them out, letting them lead me, I got wrapped up in the story and the characters. Then, as happens all too often, I got sidelined for a very long time. Nearly a year, in fact. Although I have picked through it quite a few times in between, most of my actual writing time has been spent revising another project (written under another name) and working on shorter pieces.

This week, my daughter and I attended the first installment of a three-part mystery writers workshop at our local library. Despite the fact that (due to the above sidelines, in large part) the last thing I want right now is to be around people I don’t know, I actually had a great time. Our presenter (Frankie Y. Bailey) was bright, witty, a great teacher, and really knows her subject.  She presented the intro in an entertaining and informative way. While I learned nothing new (technically), I did get a chance to look at the old from a fresh viewpoint, and it was inspiring.

It was, in fact, inspiring enough to encourage me to pull out The Manuscript and read through what I have so far.

What I have, is a mess. Frankie was talking a lot about characters, and with her words in mind, one of my own really stood out as I read through the hodgepodge of words that sit in Scrivener, begging me to untangle them and continue. He stood out because he doesn’t work.

At all.

He doesn’t fit the tone of the story. He doesn’t fit the goal I have in mind. He doesn’t fit the mood or the other characters. Naturally, I wound up getting sidetracked by this almost comic-book pseudo-being, and realize as I re-read that I have somehow managed to turn him into a key player and weave the entire blasted plot around his little devious fingers.

My choices now? Go back to page one and rewrite him, completely, starting from scratch as I try to repair a bunch of tangled ends and get the story back on track. Or ditch the whole darned thing and start from “Once upon a time”.

(Don’t worry, it doesn’t really start “Once upon a time”.)

Maybe I’ll re-title the working draft, start fresh with NaNoWriMo this year, and just try again from as close to square one as necessary to fix this little dilemma. (NaNo worked out so well last year, after all, did it not? Sigh.)

It’s hard right now to be enthused about diving into such a massive undertaking.  The workshop, though, was inspiring, and I look forward to the other two segments. Maybe I’ll wait till after next week’s workshop, which will continue on the subject of characters, and see if it gives me any brilliant ideas.

Edit and Addendum: We’re going with the final thought. The draft has been re-titled, I’m starting with not much more than the outline, and I will try to keep my demons (that was literal) under a tighter rein this year. Wish me luck!

Advertisements

The Ending Scene From Today

So, today was the fifth day of NaNoWriMo. I’ve just topped 12.000 words, so am a bit ahead of schedule and it feels good. Today was crazy. I thought I would have a lot of writing time, but a series of interruptions, some actual paying work that came up, and an infected (is it? I don’t know, but it sure is weird) bug bite that has me feeling pretty crappy came very close to thwarting my plans.

Still, I stuck to my word, stuck it to my words, and ended with the following teaser for the night.

Now, to go check on my horses (did I mention I am owned by two adorable Minis?), tend to all the other critters, and tuck myself in for the night.

Be kind, now, and remember that it’s just first draft stuff being pounded out at super-human speed (possibly augmented by a low-grade fever). LOL Happy Happy, and Enjoy!

Zenko’s form began to shrink, to fold inward on itself. Fur sprouted over his face, neck, slender arms. With a yelp and what felt like a snap of electricity, there was suddenly a red fox sitting on the bed … and then it was gone.

“What the— Ugh!” Nash’s hand flew up to cover his mouth. “What is that horrid stench!?”

Abby, though her nose did wrinkle, responded with a chuckle. “That, my friend, is the musk of a fox. Everyone thinks they’re beautiful, but few people know how bad they smell. But good lordy, whatever you do, don’t mention it in front of Zenko! He’s very self-conscious about it!”

The smell was fading as Nash waved his hand in front of his face. “Where did he go?”

“Lacey was calling him. He went to help her.”

“Wait … what? You mean to the living world?”

Abby nodded. “He’ll bring her back to us.”

“The living world? She can see him there, too?”

“Everyone can see him there, Detective Nash. Haven’t you been paying attention?”

He racked his brain, trying to figure out what he had missed. Nope, there were no hidden clues there. “I have been, Ma’am, but I didn’t hear anything that—”

“Well, aside from the fact that I just told you Lacey isn’t the only one who can be in both worlds, we also told you he is a Kitsune.”

“And how am I supposed to know what a Kitsune can do?”

“Well, we did say they watch over families and homes … the good ones, anyway, right?”

“Yes, I guess so. But I didn’t know that meant in the physical world. I figure they were like angels or something, not that they can, well, walk among the living.”

“And who says that angels can’t walk among the living?”

Nash’s jaw dropped.

This being dead thing was getting to be just a bit too much to handle.