I know, he's sleep deprived. Everything sounds either hilarious or like pure genius to him right now. Er, sorry to disappoint but, no, I'm not there just yet. Where I am at is the point where I just figured out my characters central motivations.
I began this story in September 2010 as a short story that turned into a short novella of about 20,000 words. I love Fall and feel that Halloween to be THE Fall holiday, embodying and celebrating everything that the season is, even more so than Thanksgiving. I had been wanting to write a story about it for some time and, finally, in 2010 I did. It had everything I love about the season in it: pumpkin patches, the harvest, returning to school after summer, Halloween and trick-or-treat. It was a single story and it was fantastic.
Except, then it began to grow. By the end of the following summer I had written a sequel novella, picking up with my characters several years later. Even as I wrote it I started to have ideas for other stories in the world I was creating and, by the time Halloween itself rolled around again (in 2011) I was thoroughly at war with myself as to how to tell this story.
My two written stories were novellas. Yet, the third story was going to be so big, so long and complicated, that it would either have to be two novellas or a whole book just on its own. I didn't like either option. Two novellas when the other stories had been told in one? Come on. And turn the third story into a full sized novel? I put quite a bit of thought into it and realized, if I made the third story into a full sized novel, then I would have to spend about 1/3 of the book on pure backstory to catch readers up on all that happened in the two previous stories. And that just wasn't going to do. I mean, why did I write the other stories then?
Ok, how does this have to do with my "figuring it out"? Quite a bit, actually.
Back in 2010 I was in a horrible slump as far as plot development goes. I had been working on a different story for the better part of a year by that time and it had no definitive plot. Great characters, a increasingly developing world and an absolutely fascinating magic system--all must haves for me--but no plot that even I could really lay my finger on. The first story of Red King was developed in the same pattern. Great characters. Cool magic system that I sadly, sadly didn't have the time to explore. But what was the plot? Two kids reveling in the joys of October and gearing up for Halloween. Ok-aayyy. But what happens?
In deciding to turn the third story into a novel (because it couldn't be two novellas) I decided, too, that I had to convert my two, already written novellas into full novels as well. It was easy enough to think of ways to expand story, aka book, 2. But what about book 1? How was I going to make "two kids reveling in the joys of October and gearing up for Halloween" even longer than the 20,000 words I'd already put into it? Depending on the market, a novel can start around 60 or 70,000 words. I had a long way to go if I was to develop book 1 into an actual novel.
I'll talk about this more another time but, for now, suffice it to say that this has been the constant thorn in my side for the past year. I've written one draft of the novel-sized book 1 filled with all the things I could think of at the time. New characters, new and expanded scenes, various subplots. I left some things out and now I'm on the cusp of completing the second draft of the first 1/3 of the book. It has even more added to it than draft 1 did as I had left some things out in that earlier draft because I was still mulling them over. And it's tonight, of all the nights I've spent on this story, that I figure out the main character's motivations.
If that's not the beginnings of a plot then I don't know what is. Wohoo! It's going to have a plot!
Oh muse, why do you only ever speak to me when you want to speak to me and never when I want you to speak to me? Ugh.