Old Shoes and A Good Story

old shoesBecause I have published six books in three years, people call me productive. But number seven has given me trouble from the first chapter. When I get stuck, I put it aside and work on something else like a blog entry or a short story, wondering whether I should abandon the whole idea or keep going.  But like a pair of old shoes, which I haven’t worn for a long time, calls in from the back of the closet wanting to come into the light again.

Most old shoes can be spruced up and there are many more miles I can put on them. A good coat of polish or a trip to the shoe maker for a repair, and they are as good as new, almost.

Yes, I’m comparing this seventh novel to an old pair of shoes. Bear with me. The trouble with this book is not the subject matter. I love the premise, but it has not poured out of me the way its predecessors have, and I don’t know why. I researched Apple Pie and Strudel Girls, my first novel far more than I have had to do with this one.  I like some of the characters. (We’ve talked about Stephania before and what a stinker she is.) But for some reason, I haven’t been able to write the end of the story. Right now the manuscript is about 60,000 words; there’s only about 20,000 more to go, so I keep asking myself, “What’s your problem?”

I’ve put a new coat of polish on this novel again and again. I’ve lived with that rendition for awhile and been able to write a little  more of the story. I’ve gone back numberous times, reread what I had written, quizzed myself. Have I handled the story truthfully? Are the characters  believable? Will the reader identify with them or love to hate them? Are their actions something they really would do? Did I give the reader enough descriptive detail to put the readers into the setting or did I go overboard? Can they see what the characters look like?  Have I cut the fluff?

Just as I was on a roll, I hit yet another speed bump. My biggest problem is I know where I have to end up because this is a prequel to the second book Stranger in the Spotlight. (I figure if George Lucas can do it, so can I.)

And just in the nick of time, this morning I came up with a new idea. The problem is I have to span ten years from where I am now until the end of the book and do that in approximately 20,000 words. If you have an idea for me, any and all suggestions are welcome. I’ll thank you in advance.

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2 thoughts on “Old Shoes and A Good Story

  1. I’m not sure how you’re going to do this, Barb. I remember when I read The Horse Whisperer and the end was wrapped up like that and it seems like it was finished a little hastily. Do you have to use 20,000 words – or do you have some leeway?

    • Diane, I have as many words as I need. I just arbitrarily picked 20,000 words because most of my novels have been about that length. After I wrote the post I did get an idea that I think will work to show at least a couple of years. At least it gave me something to chew on. If you have any ideas, please pass them on.

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