As I've been working on my latest, I realized about 2/3 the way through that it was missing "something." That's usually the way I work, though. I let the story flow and at some point I take a breath and look over my shoulder at what I've written. Then I pick up all the threads that I've dropped along the way.
I took a walk with the Big Guy last night and mulled over what was missing. One of my kind reviewers described my work as "the perfect blend of romance and mystery," and indeed, that is what I strive to write. This story was missing a tangible mystery. And then it came to me.
The fun part (and when you're developing a story, it is almost always fun) is envisioning scenarios, dialog, settings. Once that missing link fell into place, I was excited to know that I've already created the framework for where I need to go, it only required a little rearranging to make it take that mysterious turn that would make the story more interesting. I laid in bed last night, playing scenes, moving my characters around, and had a sudden flashback to my childhood. This is what I did when I played with dolls. I made up stories for them, put them into situations they had to find a way out of, gave them words to say to one another.
Does this mean writing puts me in touch with my inner child? Does this make me a child at heart? Writing characters in the book is a lot like a grown up version of Barbie and Ken.
I have yet to finish the first draft, although it is in sight. The title I started with, which was more the inspiration, isn't going to work, so I have to keep that thought process bubbling on the back burner. Some of the original impetus has fallen by the wayside (that happens as you write your way through a story) in favor of stronger themes and plots/subplots, and yet this is the exciting part about writing--seeing where the story will take you. What starts out as a small kernel begins with a starting point that almost ALWAYS gets cut later in favor of a "stronger" beginning and morphs into something that rarely resembles the original idea. And you know what? That's okay.
The downside is that the forward momentum has stopped in favor of backtracking. I'm making negative progress at the moment, and yet it is positive progress.
And last - thanks to everyone who took advantage of the "free" offer. I hope you'll take the time to leave a review at your favorite book sight! (Authors love feedback!)