Sunday, November 8, 2009

What to Write: Part 2 – NaNoWriMo

I already had something that was inspired by Lovecraft, a set of stories I came up with in the 90’s that I’ve been tooling with and refining for years. I came up with a great outline of the stories and world about three years ago and I’ve been writing novels and short stories in that world off and on for a while now. Now it was time to dive back in.

Last year my NaNo journey was more planned out. I knew I wanted to write a supernatural thriller and was actually plotting it out before I started writing. This time, all I had was a vague outline of stories that needed to be written out. Last year’s NaNo novel “Pierced” falls in there. As I looked over the outline one story popped out.

About four years ago I started a novel tentatively called “The Grey Man”. I was finally going to delve into a character I’d created back in the 90’s, named Adrienne West. Miss West has been bouncing around for years and some of you may have read a strange short story where she found herself in a bizarre dream world. Anyway, I’ve wanted to flesh out her story for a while and four years ago I gave it a try. The beginning was pretty solid, however I fell into one of my traps. I got obsessed with perfecting details as I wrote the first draft.

I had some police characters in the story, detectives assigned to solve a series of mysterious murders. These detectives would end up crossing paths with Adrienne and be torn between feeling she was a suspect or a witness. The problem was, whenever I got to these detectives I would obsess over police procedure in that type of situation. And since I’m not a detective, I had to make it up. And since I was making it up, I knew it was wrong. It really started to bug me, because they were becoming more and more a part of the plot and they were slowing me down more and more. I never finished writing the novel because the detectives stopped me cold.

Now I have a solution. Drop the whole subplot with the detectives. They didn’t really add anything, since the reader already knew how Adrienne was involved. There was no suspense really, just wondering when the detectives would piece it together. Instead of bouncing back and forth between the detectives and Adrienne I would stick with my main character. She was more interesting anyway. I might have the detectives appear in a scene or two, but they will no longer drive a parallel story.

The only issue now is that I feel like I’ve lopped off half the original story idea. Will that make this new version too short, a dreaded novella in length (not much market for that length of story)? Or will Adrienne be able to carry the full story to a complete length by herself. We’ll have to see , but that’s what I’m going with. I do have some additional details that I can add in, things that I hadn’t really considered four years ago, but now feel like they fit. And of course I can add that extra Lovecraftian touch.

So what is the story about? Here’s a back cover for you.

As desert winds howl like banshees around Adrienne West as she faces a deranged murderer. She’s hunted him for three years and today, she’s going to end the chase. Her revenge, which should have quenched the fury within her, only starts something new.
Adrienne returns to the city of Ten Bay hoping to start her life up where she left off. But everything’s moved on. Friends are gone or seem to find her too changed. Worse the visions that guided her hunt have not stopped. They continue to plague her with new terrors. One in particular, a brutal thing with icy breath and frozen fangs, seeks her out in her dreams. When the first frozen body is found, Adrienne begins to be very afraid of what she has become and whether she will remain Forever Cold.

For you writers out there, do you find yourself digging up your older stories and looking for ideas or inspiration? Ever let the details derail you on a first draft?

No comments: