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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Serendipity



Serendipity: Noun. The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I’m always in awe of my fellow authors who pound out two, three, four, or even more books each year. I wish I could be that productive. But I’m too easily distracted—squirrel! Or too intent on making sure every detail is accurate, hence a day spent on research. Or too…fill in the blank.

My contract calls for a book every eight months, and that’s about all I can handle. The weeks where two books are in different stages of creation generally have me tripping the fine line of madness. Currently, I’m drafting the tenth in the Zoe Chambers series and working on edits on the ninth one. I spend mornings drafting #10, afternoons revising #9.

Which book am I working on? That scene happened when? In what book?

Most of the time, I gnash my teeth and refer to my series bible and my outline in Scrivener to keep things straight.

The first draft is coming along. Slowly. The revisions are coming along as well and moving forward at a nice clip. Or were, until I hit my freelance editor’s notes for chapter ten.

Without giving anything away, one of my secondary characters, a reporter, knows things thanks to a “source.” Zoe questions her about the identity of this informant, but the reporter smugly avoids answering.

I didn’t feel the identity of her source was vital to the story. The truth is, I had no clue who it was! I thought I could let it slide. Reporters always have confidential informants, right?

Right?

My editor wasn’t buying it. She insisted I—I mean my character—had to reveal the name.

The annoying part is two of my beta readers had said the same thing. I’d ignored them. But I pay this editor good money to keep me honest. Which means, I had to put the screws to my reporter character and get her to tell me her secrets.

She stubbornly refused. For days. I tried all my usual tricks. Nothing worked.

Until one night I decided enough was enough. Waiting for a secretive character to cough up information was akin to waiting for the Muse to inspire me to write.

I can’t wait that long!

I sat down and thought it out. Who would know this information that the reporter’s privy to?


And it came to me. Like the proverbial bolt of lightning. I slapped my head. Of course! It made perfect sense. So perfect, in fact, I’m ashamed Zoe didn’t figure it out already!

The best parts? It will require two sentences to fix #9. Even better, I can continue the thread in #10, where it fits perfectly!

Serendipity.

So, readers, care to share any moments of serendipity in your own lives?

3 comments:

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I always realize the "great shazam" when I'm driving, weeding, or mopping the kitchen floor. My mind is elsewhere (I just weeded this bed two weeks ago. It is hogweed or thorough weed?) when the break-through happens.

Grace Topping said...

Fun post Annette. Isn't it wonderful when something comes to you that will work. In my first book, I based my villain's motive on something that my agent didn't like at all. I had carefully built all the clues throughout the book. To change the motive was going to be a major rewrite, one after years of working on the manuscript, I couldn't bear to make. I resisted and then put it aside. Wise friends told me I needed to change it. It took me days, but I finally came up with another motive that worked better than my original one. I was able to change the motive with only minor changes needed throughout the book. Such a relief.

KM Rockwood said...

Such a great feeling when your characters decide to tell you the answer to something you've been struggling with. You suspect they knew it all along and are just now letting you in on it.