I recently decided to try writing something new. I needed a change from dragons and distressed damsels, or sarcastic detectives facing thirsty vampires and wayward housewives. I’d written one near-future thriller and tossed off a What-If spec fiction; it was time to venture deep into outer space. Or maybe not.
As usual I started with a scrap of a plot and plunged right on ahead. In this case I knew what the opening chapter would look like, and the final dramatic scene. All I needed was the tender middle. I also knew there would be a brother and a sister in main roles. I assumed the lead player would be the brother; boy was I wrong!
His sister took over, and along with her three rowdy girlfriends, ran rampant through the plot.
Then my Beta reader charged in with her usual glee and scribbled comments all over the early pages. One remark that stood out was the fact that the four women were all alike. She couldn’t tell them apart.
Okay, so back to the beginning, how do you differentiate a gang of four? I tried differing fashion sense, favorite sayings or curses, hairstyles, even skin colors. I even gave them different tattoos, although these are not always noticeable.
The list of reader complaints was long; too long to mention here. Needless to say that although I have finished spinning the basic tale, I am now reworking the story to polish the obvious problems.
I usually write quickly. I’ll start the day by reading and editing what I wrote the day before, and then charge ahead full speed. In this argumentative manuscript, I keep going back, adding scenes, inserting comments, sprinkling in incidents. It doesn’t help that I’m developing a large argumentative cast with speaking parts.
And don’t get me started in the aliens! They have refused to co-operate and are acting very…alien.
This may take more time than I planned for me to sort out.
I’m beginning to suspect that I will be happy to feel a dragon’s breath on the back of my neck once more. And anyway, those damsels are usually more distressing than distressed.
The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)
The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1,2,3)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volumes 1 to 8)
Alex in Wanderland,Knight’s Bridge
We’re Not in Kansas
Toltec Dawn (Book 1, 2, of 3)