Structure and Story

Before I get into talking about Keeper of the Wild Places, let me give you a quick update on The Search for Reality. The book has been through the final editing process, and I am just waiting on the final cover design before I get all the pieces sorted out and published. I’m hoping to have it out by the Ides of March, but this year has been a little strange, so don’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen. Still, I’m very excited to get this book out to you!

Anyways, on to The Keeper of the Wild Places!

I had taken a bit of a break from working on this story (only a week or so, but it felt like longer) so that I could focus on some other projects that were pressing on my mind, and also work on marketing material. On Tuesday of this week, I had the sudden urge to dive right back into this story and reread it all the way through (about 40k words so far).

I discovered two things:

1. I really, really like this story. Okay, I usually really, really like most of the stories I write, since that’s my whole reason for writing them. This story, though, has grown on me in a way that I did not expect. It’s different from the romance stories I usually write. The historical-esque setting is definitely something I’ve used before, but a true fantasy romance? I haven’t done that before. I’ve written fantasy stories as E.G. Stone, and even added a touch of romance into some of them. But a romantic fantasy, where that is the primary storyline? It’s completely new. And I love it!

2. This story needs to be a novel in three parts.

Yeah, the second point isn’t nearly as exciting as the first point. I mean, swooning over a story is far more fun than thinking seriously about its structure, right? But as I was reading through the manuscript, I kept thinking that this story was really meant to be a journey that the main characters were on and that it needed to be done in three separate acts, or sections, or what have you.

It’s such a simple thing, but knowing now that the story is done in three points really solidifies the character journey for me. I understand so much more clearly how the story is meant to progress, and how the character interactions are meant to change throughout the story. It’s that proverbial moment when the lightbulb goes off, and everything makes sense.

Well, fine, not everything. As a pantser, understanding everything would mean I had already finished the story, and I haven’t. I have broad strokes of ideas about how the rest of the story is going to progress, but haven’t yet sorted out the details.

So far, I’ve got Briony—the Keeper, and magic user in the story—trying to figure out her place in a world of humans who do not understand, nor care about, magic. Part II, where I’m currently at, is all about her beginning to understand humanity, and also start falling truly in love with Aidan.

I suppose all of this discussion of structure and story planning and understanding is really just me saying, “Well piffle. I did this? It’s good!”