I thought it was spring

Because, you know, it’s been almost three weeks since the spring equinox. Sure, the days are getting longer – and yay for that – but the weather? Grrrr!

This morning I woke to 3 1/2 ” of snow. Okay, it’s really beautiful, but sometimes a girl needs to wake up to less blinding brightness. There are tulips under that whiteness, there are buds on the fruit trees that might not appreciate the 17° overnight low.

Not that I can do anything about it.

Meanwhile, I meant to pause my Patreon account for another month but I forgot to take care of that in time, so Patreon is on again. That means it’s time for me to give you an update on the progress of my WIP.

Sequel to Dark Green

WIP = Work In Progress. That sounds so writerly. Or creative. Whatever. It is work, though, and I am making progress. I think I told you that the rough draft of the sequel was a wreck and I just didn’t know where to go from there. My editor was willing to look it over. He found hope for it and made some awesome suggestions.

That’s what makes an editor a good editor: the quality of the suggestions. Anyway, one of the suggestions was to totally delete a character I had introduced, not because he wasn’t interesting but because he was too interesting.

Once the shock and dismay passed, what I felt was relief. I immediately saw why I had been having so much trouble getting the plot to work: I had inadvertently created two plots.

So I performed major surgery. I amputated that new character.

That meant I had to go through every sentence of every page and rewrite the story to fill in the new blanks the amputation had created. This turned out to be no easy feat. In fact, I felt like I couldn’t do it, even as I plugged away at it. I had to force myself to not try to figure out everything at once. Like any daunting project, I just took it a scene at a time.

Then the magic began to happen. As I plodded on, page by page, juggling all the changes, going back to make sure that everything I’d previously corrected worked with each new correction, the real story began to appear. The natural flow became undammed. I learned new things about my main character, Jessie Torres, as well as about some other characters from Dark Green. It all started making sense.

Not only did the plot transform from a stunted, twisted thing to a healthy and vigorous story, the Universe started providing verification.

Okay, maybe I need to explain that last bit.

Serendipity means unexpected and fortunate discoveries, but there are two kinds of serendipity (actually, the phenomenon has been studied and there are more than two, but why make things more complicated). One is a matter of dumb luck. It’s accidental coincidence.

The other is when the Universe hands you exactly what you need, when you need it, even if you didn’t know you needed it. Ain’t no accidental about it.

When I dumped that competing character, I needed other characters to step up. The deleted character had things to say that did contribute to Jessie’s story and I needed to find another way to get that information across. The magic part is that one of the characters in this second book in the Mangas County Mysteries stepped up and thus needed a history that he hadn’t needed before. When he first appears early on in the book I decided he had to have an unusual last name (for Mangas County), and therefore a name possibly hard for other characters to remember or pronounce (and maybe readers, too). The point of tht last name was to give him a simple nickname.

Why? I had no idea. I just knew that I wanted to do it that way.

So now, 80,000 words of revision later, because I had given that character an uncommon name a crucial bit of his history was revealed when I googled something I had no reason to expect I’d find. But there it was! Connections that made him more real, provided motivation, and just fit in so sweetly that it made me laugh out loud.

That was the Universe handing me what I needed. The discovery about the character’s history was not only perfect for the story but I learned stuff I had never known before. Who knew that there really was…

Um… no. You’ll have to read the book when it comes out to find out how that sentence ends.

Okay, that’s it for today. I’ve got about 13K more words to rewrite, then I have to go back to review the whole manuscript, then it goes to two of my precious beta readers before it goes back to my editor. I better get cracking!

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About lifstrand

Lif Strand began writing fiction when she was a kid. Nobody read her stories. A former Arabian horse breeder and endurance racer, then reporter and freelance white paper writer, Lif lives in a straw bale house off-the-grid and writes fiction once more--or at least whenever she’s not scooping horse poop, taking photos, or playing with fabric art.

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