In other words, I'm in trouble. Big trouble. I've got a ms that's going to have a huge reader-killing, book-killing dead spot. Proportionally speaking, this dead spot equals the amount of Africa taken up by the Sahara desert. And if I actually write out every bloody scene that's needed to make this story work, it'll be like sand expanding to fill most of the African continent.
It was discouraging to look at my notes and realize that.
However, discouragement is like a kiwifruit, or Starbucks: I don't have to pay attention to it if I don't feel like it. And I don't feel like it. My writing time is so limited, it makes me sick to think of pouring any down the discouragement drain.
So. I've started breaking down the task at hand, and I think the thing to do now is stay flexible while moving forward under this general plan:
- Start writing out some of the scenes/dialogs that establish what I want established.
- Do side work from secondary characters' POV regularly, as a guideline. Because if I lose touch with those secondary characters, I am screwed.
- If a scene/exchange is recalcitrant, don't force it, drop it.
- Watch for anything that can be satisfactorily conveyed through summary/narration.
- Remember those big backstory dumps from the first half. They established information and emotion. It may be possible to peel the full meaning from some of them and make them more bare-bones. If so, their full, layered meanings can come to light here in the Sahara Zone, via exchanges with the new character whose story now must unfold. If the true heft of a backstory revelation happens here, it should also provoke tension and conflict-raising actions/decisions by the MC.
- Keep a feeler out for scenes that can naturally double up. (Ex. dialog establishes one point while, via "background" matter like dialog tags and scene-grounding, another point slowly rises. As soon as the dialog has made its point, it ends and the "background" becomes the new focus and is dealt with. Or vice versa: in-scene action makes its point to the reader, and the second that point gets made someone starts talking to the MC re. another point.)
Things to keep in the back of my mind:
- The unused, already-established hook-y scenes that are going to help carry this part.
- The emotions that drive my MC. Especially the ones he is unaware of.
- The end confrontation I'm heading for.
- And always--always--the POVs of the secondary characters. Always.