The dilemma was this: As I waited for comments on Novel One, I took more than a step into the world of Novel Two. This was not a good thing to do. Then again... well, let me explain.
There didn't seem to be a conflict even as the Group shared reactions to Novel One; despite their concerns that they'd overloaded me, I was excited. They liked a great deal about the revision, yet wanted more. There were more layers to be revealed, opportunities to go deeper, richer yet, they said, and I agreed. I left the meeting in good spirits despite the work ahead.
When I got home, I started to think through the changes. I could add that character I'd debated from my female protagonist’s background. I can kill off someone, maybe two? ("Kill, kill, kill!” as said by Arlo Guthrie in Alice’s Restaurant reverberated in my head.) I could expand my main character in a particular way. There was only one hurdle, plot-wise, that needed to be gotten around in order to make these things happen. I let my mind go blank…
and in stepped Novel Two characters, who’d been pushing into my thoughts for some months, only to be told to remain on the doorstep. Until recently. With the draft on the Group’s laps, I’d welcomed them inside, chatted with them, one by one and sometimes as a group. They showed me flashes of moments and story arcs, dutifully transcribed on 3x5 cards.
Suddenly, so close to getting Novel One pushed to the Next Level, I found myself uninterested in it. The main character annoyed me, no longer dashing and intriguing. Why had I ever wanted to get to know him at all? Clearly, if I felt this way, readers would, too. Well, so what, then, if I moved on to Novel Two? These new people were so engaging. Tempting.
I became frustrated, impatient. Why had I spent so much time investing in this character, this story? What about it all would make me so willing to give up on it with the end in sight?
I pushed the Novel Two gang out the front door to consider this. Why was the story not clicking for me, right now? What did I need from the story, from the characters? What would make me fall in love with them all over again, to reinvest myself in their lives? In the answer came the solution to the hurdle.
Despite their banging on the windows, their complaints about the drop in temperature outside, the Novel Two folks will need to amuse themselves without my attentions for a while longer. It will be worth their wait, I know, given everything I have learned from Novel One. It certainly will be worth my wait, and I don't think I'll be waiting all that long.