Rock, Paper, Scissors
Well, the second novel; Rock, Paper, Scissors, is done – until it needs to be edited, revised, rewritten or otherwise mangled. I am searching for a literary agent to represent the novel. I hope that is easier than finding a publisher for City of Demons!
This second novel started out as a very short YA fantasy. After the three hundred pager that preceded it, I felt that a shorter novel would be a good experiment. My protagonist, a teen named Jenny, would be adrift in a foreign land (Canada), beset by bullies, and helped by the strange artifact she stumbles across. I finished it in ninety pages, basked for a moment, then made the mistake of showing it to one of my muses. She, who shall remain nameless, said, “It’s not complete. You have to finish it.”
Okay. Back to the word processor. Seen as part of a larger narrative – which took some squinting – the story seemed to be heading for three parts, so only two to go, right? The second part came easily. The conflict of the first section could be taken up again without major contortions. Now came the third part. I knew what the relationship between the two main characters should be – the conflict dictated it – but I couldn’t set it down within an interesting plot. I tried four different approaches, and they all failed. Two died silently, one whimpered a bit first, and the last is still screaming in a drawer somewhere. Tyrants have dungeons; writers have drawers.
That is how matters stood for more than a year. I tried taking it to a writing class, bouncing ideas off friends, but I was still stuck. About three months ago, an idea popped up. What if the antagonist became the centre of the story in part three? Is it crazy to change points of view, put the protagonist who we have been rooting for in the background and just plough ahead? Yes. Yes it is. But I think it works. The protagonist is still there as an influence, and we get to see why the antagonist is so . . . antagonistic.
So the moral of the story is: Don’t listen to muses, or don’t give up on a story if there is any hope of saving it.