What’s in a Story

Hello! Gosh, it feels so long since I’ve sat down and written a blog post, but it’s only been a month. May was crazy, so I’m glad I took the time off. I managed to get a lot of packing for my move done, on top of dealing with my senior cat and dog both having health problems at the same time. And in taking time off from writing (even if I intended to write, it never happened thanks to being super busy) I managed to think about all my stories and writing process and mull things over.

My conclusion was that, while The Keeper of the Wild Places is sooo close to being finished, I’m not anywhere near done with it yet. I was writing up one of the ending chapters leading to the climax and just got stuck. I knew exactly where the story needed to go, and the characters were precisely how I wanted them, but something about it just felt wrong. As it stands now, Keeper is a lovely romance with a story that I think works well. Yet it doesn’t really move me the way I would have expected or liked. I think it is a good romance, but it is not a great one.

Over the course of packing my books, I realised I needed to have some books that I could read before my boxes arrived at the new house. I ordered two books in a series–though it’s more of a collection–about crafting story: Story Physics and Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, talking about the elements that make up a good story and ways to take those elements to the next level. I haven’t gotten very far into them yet, but so far I am fascinated! I am discovering that while I am a good writer, I have a long ways to go before I become a very good, even great writer.

It’s a humbling thought.

It’s also very exciting to think I have the chance to learn more and improve.

What does that mean for Keeper? Well, it means that I have already started reworking the story. I am starting back at the beginning of Act I to solidify character types, the stakes of the story, the conflict, the dramatic tension, making certain that this book is about something rather than a whole bunch of character thoughts as they try to navigate the world. I’m adjusting pacing and moving some plot elements around so that the stakes don’t suddenly increase about 2/3ds of the way through the novel. It’s going to be a lot of work, and it might mean rewriting large swaths of the story. I think it will be worth it though, to take this story from something good, to something better.

This will push back my publishing schedule, but I’m okay with that. I’d rather do something right than do it over.

Life gets in the way sometimes. This time, it was for the best. I’m ready to start writing this story to its greatest potential and to learn along the way!

Thank you for sticking with me through all of this. It means a great deal and I’m so honoured to know you.

And on a completely different note, here is a picture of Minnie, who sometimes forget that her tongue is sticking out.