I’m about 1/2-2/3 of the way through the first GMC revision of book one. The doubt about the percentage is because I have actually reviewed 2/3 of the scenes, but ever since the 50% mark my muse has been dragging his or her feet. Finally last night I paid attention to the niggle in the back of my head and discovered that I really need to re-view and re-focus the last 13 scenes because they just were not right. My Muse has been telling me this in myriad ways ever since I left the Volcano, but I was trying to ignore s/he. Never a good idea. Inspiration dries up, concentration goes out the window, and aggravation mounts when I do. I’m learning to listen, but it sometimes takes me a while to hear.
This is the second time I’ve hit the wall this revision.
Road block 1 was when I couldn’t work out how my MC should respond to her young protégé. The issue was understandable and came from my lack of knowledge of my MC’s homeland. That was remedied with some quick and dirty world building.
Road block 2 has been very different. I’ve known for ages that I had a sagging 50-75 per cent bit, and my first stab at it back in August last year was only partially successful, but I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.
What I had was a whole lot of unrelated happenings. Something would happen and my MC would respond. Not bad writing, and some good conflict bits, but the motivation was / still is missing for pretty much the whole of 20 scenes. There was no answer to ‘Why is this happening?’ except that it made my MC suffer.
The writing was the outcome of my thinking HERE. I couldn’t work out what was missing then, so I tried to provide roadblocks for my MC and frustrate her goals. It did that, but because there was no motivation for these scenes, they didn’t drive the story forward as they should have. I had an inactive protagonist on my hands. And in so doing I provided a roadblock for myself!
This issue, the 50-75% mess, has been the main reason why I’m currently doing the GMC, to get to the route of the motivation behind my scenes, and provide the middle with actual momentum as well as conflict.
So M.Muse and I have had a sit down and a deep think about it. We started last night, and will have to continue for a while, but we’re slowly answering the questions “Why would the MC do this? What purpose does it serve? Can I re-write to have my MC be motivated to achieve things, to provide the story with an engine to keep it moving? And if so, what?
For instance, my MC’s first day in camp. I initially had her just wondering around, having things happen to her. So I need to (I think – I’ve not done it yet) re-write it so that she has a goal to achieve for the day – in this case to try to talk to her protégé – and refocus everything during the day to try to achieve this. She’ll still go through the same steps, but now she’ll have a reason to go through them. And a disaster at the end when the protégé refuses to speak to her.
I got a lot of the motivations last night. Still missing a critical one or two. Then it will be back to the Volcano for me, to re-write forward from there. *sigh*