Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again


During the last several years I've written stories about princesses, flower fairies, and, currently, goddesses. I think it's about time for another "boy" series. I've had a couple of proposals making the rounds for a while now, and decided a few days ago that it was time to review them again. I asked my husband to read the sample chapters and synopsis for the first proposal and give me his "inner-boy" reaction. He liked the chapters. He thought they were well-written and "a good set-up." But he wasn't sure just what they were a set-up for. "Nothing much happens in the synopsis," he said. My heart plummeted. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Can you be more specific?" He thought about it for a while. "There's not enough action. Also, Ray [the main character] doesn't really solve his own problem. He's just carried along by events. He needs to be more heroic."

As my husband tossed a few plot ideas my way, building on traits I'd given my main character in the first three chapters, but failed to follow through with in the synopsis, I began to get excited by new story possibilities. At the same time, I felt chagrined that I hadn't seen the flaws in the synopsis myself. I've been writing for nearly twenty years now. I've had 27 books published. I KNOW that my main character needs to solve his own problem. I KNOW the importance of heroism and action. So why do I seem to forget this with each new story? Fortunately, writing's more forgiving than something like, say, brain surgery. If I'm doomed to forget the things I already know about good writing time after time, at least I can write myself out of my messes.

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