Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Go Back To The Beginning

Fans of The Princess Bride will know Inigo Montoya's mantra. You know, the one where he introduces himself, accuses Count Rugen of homicide and recommends he accept a terrible fate.

But Inigo has another mantra, and that is, "When the job fails, go back to the beginning."

I love going back to the beginning. I try things, they don't work, I go back to the start and see if I can get it right.

When I was in the midst of plotting Ondine 4 The Spring Revolution, I hit a wall. Or, a hole. Yes. A big plot hole that said, "fill this in later". Well, it's later now, and I still don't know how to fill it. Even with the best intentions of following structure, I still can't fill a hole if I have nothing to fill it with.
So I went back to the beginning and read the first two Ondine books.
It gave me ideas.

This resulted in two things: I laughed at my own jokes AND I spotted lots of lovely little asides and moments I could call back to in book 4. In books 1 & 2, (Summer and Autumn) much is mentioned of Great-Aunt Col's disastrous debutante ball. The one where she cursed Hamish into his ferrety incarnation.

Well, Old Col never got to re-do her 'deb' so it's high time she got her second chance.

That would be lovely to put into book 4.

In book 2 (set during Autumn), it mentions the clocks going back in two stages. One hour in October, another hour in November, so everyone gets two sleep-ins. This is because the clocks go forward 2 hours in one night in Spring, to really get plenty of daylight in the evenings. (People get the following Monday off as a public holiday, to cope with the 'jet lag')

As book 4 is the spring book, I need to mention this.

In book 1 there's a passing mention that Ondine wanted to study media, but with a wedding to pay for, her family might not be able to afford the camcorder fees. It turns out they can, so in book 4, Ondine will have a camcorder in her hand. I'd completely forgotten about this, but it fits perfectly with the oncoming revolution.

Needless to say, each time I get an idea while reading the old books, I jot it onto a note and stick it on my structure sheet. The structure sheet is looking like a post-it monster sneezed all over it. It's a mess, but I can fix it.

The thing is, I've given myself more ideas, and now I have those ideas, more will follow.

~Ebony McKenna, author of the Ondine series.
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