Plotting my way out of a corner

NotebookWord count: 56,363

I’m here to report decent progress on the novel as far as word count goes. Things are slightly less satisfactory on the storytelling front though. I’ve just realised that one of the sub-plots in my outline just kind of fades out halfway through. This sub-plot bears heavily on the motivation of Nimbus, one of my three main POV characters, so it’s important I get it right. At the moment, I haven’t.

Nimbus is out for revenge. The trouble is that, according to the outline, she doesn’t get it. Nothing wrong with that in principle, except the only reason she doesn’t get her revenge is because her story gets sidetracked by all the others, and things never really get resolved. It’s something I should have spotted earlier, but there you go.

There are things I can do to help in some of the earlier chapters, but they won’t solve the bigger issues. Anyway, now isn’t the time to start working backwards. Better to keep up that sweet first-draft momentum. Instead I’m going to make myself sweat.

Sweating’s okay. A little pressure never hurt the creative process. I’ve plotted myself into a corner and I damn well need to find a way out. Does Nimbus get her revenge or not? Don’t know. If she does get it, is the reader rooting for her or repulsed by her cold-bloodedness? Don’t know. If she doesn’t get it, do we applaud her self-control or think her weak-willed? Haven’t got a clue.

To answer these and other questions, I’m going to need some plot points I haven’t thought of yet. This new stuff’s going to have to fit seamlessly with everything else, otherwise it’ll all be too contrived. I’m also going to have to make some decisions about who Nimbus really is. Finally, I need to do it all on the fly, without slowing the pace I’ve already set myself. It’s exciting and scary, all at the same time, because suddenly the whole novel feels like it’s balanced on a knife-edge.

The going just got tough.

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