While the pressure to have this book finished by year-end is heavy on my shoulders, it’s actually a relief to stop plowing forward, and instead to pause and dig even deeper into my characters motivations and reactions dictated by their backstory and previous lives.
This digging has given me a different perspective in my bad guys, especially unfaithful husband Jace, and the killer, who will remain unnamed. In fact, I’ve developed a new subplot layer, and now have the two men’s pasts intertwined in more than the shared Army experience.
This subplot will require some major rewriting in my first 50,000 words, but it makes the killer’s behavior more understandable, but no less chilling.
One of the things that Cherry stressed, over and over, in her workshop: Start your planning with your antagonist. This was a revelation to me. I’ve always worked my stories around the two protagonists—their obstacles and the struggles to overcome them. But now it makes perfect sense. After all, it’s the bad guys, the antagonists, who are throwing those obstacles in the path of my good guys in the first place.
So I’m now creating an actual, physical plot board to track my book by chapters. And the first colored post-it notes to go on that board are PURPLE. Because, as Cherry says, Purple is for Antagonist.
Have you used a similar system to plot out your novel? If so, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.
Hopefully you used the system at the outset of a book, instead of when you’re 50k into writing. But hey, better late than never. I think my readers will appreciate the effort.
P.S. Never fear, I will have these changes done by next week, and be back to writing new words again!