Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursdays With Helen: Plot & Character Midnight Epiphany

I have not touched my novel for weeks.  Whilst I'm frequently assailed with guilt on the matter, I periodically remember:

I have a toddler and a preschooler!

And unfortunately it's still winter (8 days to go and counting!) and we've been hit with one bout of sickness after another.  It's so hard not to get frustrated when I'm unable to do other tasks - like writing, and a million other things.  But the reality of it is, motherhood is a constant, demanding and all-consuming occupation, particularly in these preschool years - and particularly in winter!  So I need to remind myself of this quite often, and cut myself some slack.  The writing will get done at some point.

Anyway, so this isn't really the point of my post.  I just wanted to make it clear how far my thoughts have been from my story.  

So how weird is it that in the middle of the night just a few nights ago, I suddenly had this brain wave for my story?

I had just made a a routine middle-of-the-night call out to the kids room, and afterward I went back to bed with no other thought but going back to sleep.  But instead of a sleep invasion, I experienced an idea invasion! Within a couple of minutes I had a new angle to my plot which simultaneously added the depth I had been missing all this time to the main character and the story.  I was so pleased! I jotted it down, went back to sleep, and excitedly called Jess in the morning.  She agreed with me - the new ideas were just what the story needed.

Well, after the excitement wore off, dread crept in.  Yikes.  This means a lot of re-writes.  Scary when I'm 75% of the way through the first draft.  What do I do? Finish based on what I've started? Or work on the re-writes first?

What would you do?

Helen's favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element.  She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA.  She's not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.

Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.


  1. I think everybody's different in their own approach to re-writes. Some would continue forward, maybe writing up a brief outline summary for the rewrite, and some (like me) are so OCD that they have to go back to the beginning and just start on the rewrite. :-) And then, there are those multi-taskers that take on the continuation of the story, plus the rewrites...(the advantage of this method is, if you get writer's block with one part of the book, you can go back to the other). I would play around and see what suits you and the way you work the best. Happy writing!

  2. Oh Gwen, I can have OCD tendencies, but I've been trying to throw them out the window in regards to my writing! Even without my recent plot development, I have had a lot of trouble restraining myself from numerous rewrites of early chapters.

    Well, would you believe I just won a 5 page critique at Seekerville?? So I'm reworking my first five pages in light of my new ideas before sending it in. Where this takes me in terms of how I attack the rest of the manuscript? Only time will tell ... :)