Thursday, February 11, 2010

You can't just keep poisoning the same person

I'm only 17,500 words into my romance book, which is way behind schedule. Still, that's almost a third of the way in and I'm having some plot trouble. Specifically, I'm running low on plot.

I do this too often. The main reason, I think, is that I'm an impatient writer with a linear view of the world. I have a plot, and I go straight through it to the end without very many subplots or diversions. That's bad. Fortunately, I'm also easily bored, so while my plots may be straightforward, I tend to include lots of action. The last thing I want as a writer or a reader is big chunks of book where nothing happens except a lot of thinking or conversations.

Well, guess what the typical romance novel consists mostly of? Yeah, thinking and conversations. That's fun to an extent, since I can ratchet up the sexual tension and, of course, the romance. I like my two main characters, Avis and Nick. They're meant for each other but they have lots of obstacles in the way of their happiness, primarily the fact that SOMEONE is poisoning Nick! And he doesn't even realize it! He just thinks he's turning into a vampire!

The problem is, I can't just keep having him poisoned every night. Eventually he will die, which will mess up the happy ending. I'm going to have to make Avis realize he's being poisoned earlier than I intended, which means I still have 30,000 words in which to get Avis to figure out who the poisoner is--and she's not all that stupid, so it's not going to take her 30,000 words. I'm going to have to introduce another character, I suspect, someone really horrible who will provide a subplot. Would it be too cliched to make the character a mean woman who tries to take Nick from Avis?

When I'm done with this, I'm going to write something about aliens fighting zombies. With laser eyes!

16 comments:

Natalie L. Sin said...

Sheep stampede!

K.C. Shaw said...

You know, that might...just...work...

Now I've got to figure out why they're stampeding and who gets trampled. :)

Danielle Ferries said...

I love a subplot. Someone could turn their attention to her to try and get her out of the way. A kidnapping, a car chase, the heroine being dumped into a dark pit and having to climb her way out.

K.C. Shaw said...

Ooh, ooh, you just started a bunch of plot bunnies! Thanks! I hadn't thought about Avis being in the way--Nick's being poisoned essentially not to kill him but to drive him away from the property he's inherited. I'm definitely going to have to put Avis in peril. (And then Nick can rescue her!)

Lertulo said...

Time for the ninjas to make an appearance.

K.C. Shaw said...

Maybe Nick is secretly a NINJA!

Maybe for the sequel.

BT said...

I'm too late - I think D hit it on the head.

And depending on the poison, you can introduce a natural antidote into the equation which will slow things down, or have them speed up, then seem to plateau (Nick's getting better), and then start poisoning him all over again.

Natalie L. Sin said...

1. Wolves.

2. The poisoned guy, after which he will be nursed back to health. This close personal attention will cause a window of non-poisoning, allowing for realization and potential boning.

Cate Gardner said...

You gave away the ending. :(

K.C. Shaw said...

BT--I'm not sure there is a real antidote to henbane and jimsonweed poisoning (it's not terribly deadly, but causes hallucinations and other lovely fun side effects), but I like Natalie's idea of causing a window of non-poisoning. That would work just as well as an antidote--ooh, and I just realized, maybe Avis and Nick think they've found an antidote because they unwittingly get Nick away from the cause of the poisoning! Thanks!

Natalie--Dogs instead of wolves will stampede the sheep beautifully. I suspect I'll have to make that how the bad guy gets it in the end. Death by sheep! I also like your non-poisoning window idea, especially the opportunity for boning part. :)

K.C. Shaw said...

Cate--They all die! Sorry!

Aaron Polson said...

1. Introduce new characters halfway through the book. Long lost cousins or something.

2. Explosions

3. It was all a dream, then start the "real" plot.

4. You can always shift POV. Heh.

5. Any other bad idea you can steal from Michael Bay movies.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I tell you, car chases with monkeys. No one has ever done it before. You can be the groundbreaker on this.

K.C. Shaw said...

Aaron--I think I'm going to have to make it a childhood friend that Nick has forgotten about. Cheesy, but I can make it work (I hope). Although I do dearly hope I can fit in an explosion too.

Jamie--I am dying to add a car chase with a monkey. I think it's going to have to go into the short story I've got brewing up.

LMEighmy said...

Oh, gawd! I have that same problem (although I'm not currently writing a romance novel). I think adding a really mean woman who wants to steal him away is a great idea! Adding nasty, mean characters is always fun. :)

K.C. Shaw said...

Yeah, and I think I can work her into the main plot too, which will make it seem less like a ploy to extend the story and more like I planned it all along!