I’m about a third of the way through writing DISTANCE, which is the sequal to DAMAGE, and I’ve had to stop and go back and revise my timeline. The plot’s working out well but, just like the first draft of DAMAGE, there’s something missing.
DAMAGE is essentially a story about two people who meet in the right place but at completely the wrong time in their lives. During version one Aiden and Cerys gradually find out about each other’s past by searching for the truth underneath the web of of misunderstandings, secrets and lies that they have each carefully constructed to avoid facing up to the past. But it lacked some major physical drama.
..and what’s a story without drama?
…Just people standing around talking!
So that’s when I added the idea that Cerys’s past (in other words Paulo), comes back to hunt her down. Looking back now I genuinely can’t believe that whole major plot strand was an aftethought!
So now I’m having the same issues with DISTANCE. I’m much clearer where I’m going with this one and there is a lot of drama throughout, but I can’t help feeling it would be better if there was a second whole plot strand woven into it. So this week’s homework is to work out what that could be. I think it needs to be some kind of guy on guy action. Drew lets Aiden down badly in this story and I think something needs to happen where Drew has to pull out all the stops to help him in a crisis, maybe even putting his own life on the line for him somehow.
This week I also came up with a good way to check whether the plot has any boring bits where a reader might just zone out and go and do something more interesting. It’s a traffic light system where you colour each chapter in your plot-plan like this.
Amber: The story develops a new element of threat, suspence or danger
Red: Full on dramerama – car chases, explosions, meltdowns, kidnaps etc
It’s a quick way of checking where your story lacks that page-turning quality. Any section that has more than three ‘green’ chapters in a row clearly needs to be looked at. Currently that happens twice in DISTANCE, which is why I’m thinking that another plot strand woven into those areas might be a good idea.
Anyway, this whole blog post has basically just been a shameless attempt on my part to post as many pictures of the BBC Muskateers as possible, hasn’t it? Of course it has!
Damn, those guys are an inspiration!!