I had a different post planned for today, but this one seems anxious to be written, so I am obliging.
As most of you know, I've been working on the sequel to All Fall Down. I drafted the novel last year and was working on revising it. I was excited to workshop it with my critique group this month. But then in January, things started to go awry.
First, the more research I did on the Witness Protection program, the more I knew it wouldn't fit in my story. The facts are, when the witnesses do what they're told, the U.S. Marshals have a very high success rate in keeping them safe. Not to mention that a lot of Witness Protection storylines are cliche. The more I researched, the more I realized my storyline needed to go in a different direction, so I had to scrap it. Which meant cutting out a significant chunk of my book.
So now I'm left with a much shorter book. I really love the story (it's Colby's, from All Fall Down) and I think the storyline is fresh overall, but having to flesh it out has been much harder than I anticipated without those chapters and without that storyline arc.
It's been suggested to me to have more inner conflict from my hero and to add a secondary storyline. Which is like telling someone, just lose ten pounds by next month okay? It's easy to say and hard to do. I have ideas, but I'm struggling trying to fit them in my plot so that it's cohesive. Which is probably because I'm doing it backward and should have laid it all down with the plot in the first place. *deep sigh* Stupid research. *insert Julie's whiny voice* Stupid cliche Witness Protection.
Not one to sit around and whine all day, (only some of it) here are my possible solutions so far:
Sit down and outline the plot as is and with added arcs. Write down all its intricacies, down and detailed and figure out this puppy and every plot bit before I go any further.
Put back the Witness Protection chapters and just hope readers can suspend disbelief. And anything that may or may not be cliche.
Release it as a novella.
Shelve it and start over.
Rip it into tiny pieces and throw it in the fireplace and eat some Canadian chocolate while cursing Witness Protection and all the cliche stories that have come before me.
*ahem* But I digress.
What are your thoughts when the book you'd planned isn't working and needs help? Do you have any suggestions to add?