The world has changed a lot in the last couple of years.
The world has changed a lot in the last couple of years. And so has my story.
I began writing this story a long time ago, and when I did, I did so because I wanted a couple more seasons of a TV show that I liked about a nice vampire PI and plucky news reporter who worked together to solve crime. (prizes to you if you know the title)
Then I got busy with kids! I only came back to it occasionally to pick over the words and, as decay set in, to lament over the dead body of the plot as the dust settled on it. I got busy after all. Kids, more kids, a little side business while I was a stay at home mum, and for a long time, I thought that 80,000 words looked like an insurmountable task.
But in the last year, I began thinking about this again, and I began reading. I listened to 50 audiobooks last year, (and this year I have already reached 54). But after those 50 books last year - I must say beginning with the masterful Diana Gabaldon - I realised that I can do this, but I need to do it a lot better.
Why? Some of these books are entertaining, funny, compelling and cute. Some of them were ok. Some were honestly dreadful and I couldn't finish them. The ones I that I did like, all had one thing in common. Something that the husk of my original story lacked.
A protagonist I could respect.
I began reading my story again and I realised quickly that the connection between my 2 main characters was actually quite sick, one-sided and very unhealthy. I had to go back and fix my protagonist. Fix her from being a wimp. Fix her from being a fawning, uninteresting, entirely banal person who I wouldn't even like myself. I needed to transform her into a someone who is strong, determined and dauntless, if a little emotional and impulsive. Everyone has flaws, right? And that's OK too. And this is where everything has changed. Because in giving my girl some real backstory, some strength, a reason she can rival her enemies and dominate her friends, I have found a whole other world of history and intrigue in the world I am creating.
It's 100 times better.
Now I'm looking at that 80,000-word goal from just as far on the other side of it. Right now the word count is almost too high (getting towards 106,000) and there is still so much more to tell. Just finding the reason for my character's strength has made it a much more complex story, one that can probably continue on for at least 2 more books. This change reflects a change in the world, I think. Buit it also maybe reflects a change in me.
Of course, my protagonist still needs help from others, no one-man-shows around here. But she is someone I could actually respect now, whereas the original version of the character was a wet rag.