“Pick a small, simple idea, and take it from start to finish in a few hours. As you work, you’ll be reminded that you can juggle and finish many projects simultaneously.”
I like this bit of motivation, so I immediately began to think of a “small, simple idea” I could begin right now and finish in a few hours. Since I don’t have a “few hours” to work on a simple idea, I’ll narrow that down to one hour, two max. Today, I need to buy curtains, find a special top to go with my new black Capris that actually fit, and go out to lunch with my husband. (this is always his idea, because my idea of lunch is a cup of yogurt and three Ritz crackers with peanut butter.) He’s never understood what happened to the “three square meals” a day idea when he married me.
I digress. A small simple idea. Here it is: the reason some of my WIPs flop and I never finish those particular stories, is simple: I do not know my characters. If I know my characters, I can more easily imagine and create a setting, conflicts both internal and external, and of course, a solution to their over-riding problem.
For example, one WIP is titled Gentle Hearts. No, I don’t like that title either, and that’s one more thing wrong with this document-in-progress. The heroine is Miss Katherine Dewhurst, a unwed school teacher in the small town of Trinity Hill in 1880. I know this lady, because she is a secondary character in The Cameron Family Genealogical Chart which I created when I finished my Texas Trilogy centering on Jeffrey “Buck” Cameron, the woman he marries, and the two daughters they produce.
Kathryn rescues a stranger, a “dandy” from the East who is in a ditch, scraped up and bruised, his wire-frame glasses shattered and bent, and his law books scattered over the ground. So far, so good. The problem here is the gentleman from the East. Who is he? Why is he riding west and carrying law books? Yes, I gave him a name, but I changed his real profession and goals at least four times. Parts of the story move along, but when he enters center stage….blank. Blah. He has no history; therefore, I have failed to flesh him out until he seems like a real person to me. The story bogs down.
The Cameron Family Geneology Chart still has at least a dozen characters, waiting for me to pull him/her out. Since I know these people, I should easily write their story.
Another example is a secondary character that has been swirling around in my head for two years. I barely have one paragraph about her. She is Starr Hidalgo, daughter of the neighboring rancher next to the Romero Ranch, the setting for All My Hopes and Dreams. Starr almost upstaged Miss Cynthia Harrington, so I had to make her the bad girl, and redeem and enhance Cynthia.
But Starr Hidalgo still lives. I must write her story. But that is a WIP for another day.
In conclusion, my Simple Idea turned into: (1) this week’s blog, and (2) a new WIP.
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas
TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print
SHOWDOWN IN SOUTHFORK—eBook
ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS-eBook and Print