These days, that’s more that I usually do. But this manuscript is special.
This story, The Midnight Man, took me a year to finally start as I was revisiting my earlier works for a new publisher at the time I came up with this story. And while I’m more efficient in my writing these days, this particular manuscript hasn’t felt right in previous drafts.
I also had a beta reader give me advice and asked my husband to look at the third draft for their impressions. For those who haven’t read my previous blogs about this novel, it’s the tale of Stanley. He’s nearly fifty and is in an unhappy relationship. In his dreams, he meets Asher, the Midnight Man. He’s twenty-one and grants Stanley the gift of youth, allowing him to be five years younger in each dream.
But it’s also the story of Francesco, Stanley’s partner of seven years.
Building his story arc has helped this tale. In previous drafts, he had little growth. After my last read, I added notes on where I could add six new scenes.
By design, this seriously changed Francesco’s motives. It’s made him more likeable. It’s made him more human. It’s shifted all power in the second half of the novel.
Over the years my writing has become a hybrid of chapter by chapter plotting and organic story telling.
And I’m getting better at this hybrid as lesser characters demand more say in my novels. Ironically, it’s how my first novel was developed. That one went from novella to novel in eight drafts as I fleshed out a section of the story that originally played out backstage.
Now I’m more confident in this hybrid form. Work out the plot, then let the characters weave their own story around it.