I've learned something about myself.
I do not like to write simple stories.
I already knew this actually, but I was in denial and for good reason. Writing complicated plots requires days and weeks and months of focused, somewhat painful thinking, though it is pleasurable too. My brain is ALIVE when I'm plotting.
I like complications. I like conspiracies. I like it when every character has his/her own agenda and they all twist and tangle together to make a mass of problems.
Alas, getting all those problems to untangle by the time The End arrives is a challenge. (In addition to liking complications, I also like the word alas. It was in one of my favorite storybooks as a kid and it sounded so beautifully fancy.) But without a headful of tangles, my novels-to-be don't intrigue me. Needless to say, I've not been entirely intrigued by my WIP lately. So I've pulled my plotting tools back out of the corner and I've started to play with all my friends….I mean, characters…again.
The pictures above are of my plotting board, complete with all my toys. My newest favorite plotting toy? Scotch Repositionable Glue Stick. It turns any piece of paper into a sticky note. Need to move a scene? No problem! Peel it off and stick it somewhere else. Also, a trifold makes a fabulous plotting board. Close the flaps and it shrinks by 30% for optimal storage, and when it's closed up, it all stays secret…an important safety feature if you have naughty words or deeds on that board that need concealing from young eyes. (By the way, I have no idea on the accuracy of that percentage. I'm a writer not a calculator.)
One last thing about my latest writing trials and tribulations...I know from experience that I need to keep the number of characters to a minimum, but forcing myself to adhere to that restriction seems to be blocking the story from flowing into my brain. So I'm letting that go for now, even though when I wrote Enchanter's Echo (coming Feb 17!!) I had to take out a HUGE subplot and all its characters in the third or fourth draft…so huge it could be its own book. Painful! Sad! Still hurts!
Also, I've decided to heck with trying to keep the first draft's word count below a 100,000. I'll deal with that later.