Cassandra Chandler

Villainy and Proximity

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The second Forbidden Knights book is half-finished, and I have this nagging feeling that it needs a different villain. That’s not a revelation you want to have halfway through a novel (though it’s better than having it when you’re at the end, I suppose 😉 ).

I thought at first that I was just feeling a new form of self-doubt. No matter how I try to ignore it, though, the thought keeps coming back. At a certain point, I realize I need to pause and step back and ask myself, “Am I just too close to this to see it clearly?”

I outline to avoid this very circumstance. Usually, the time I spend thinking things through with the distance of “not having even started writing” prevents this kind of thing. In this case, it doesn’t seem like self-doubt or any of the usual things that bring my word count to a screeching halt. So I’m taking that step back, and doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do last week. I’m shifting my word count to another project 😛

As a writer, I need to be flexible and responsive to my writer’s instinct (what most call a “muse”). I need to be able to listen to that deep inner knowing, even when it goes against my plan.

So I’m taking a step away from this project and toward another. That’s a key element for my productivity. Just because this project needs a few days to work out a problem doesn’t mean I stop making any form of progress, and I always have plenty of irons in the fire.

I’m letting the issue stir and grow in the back of my mind instead of shining an interrogator’s light in its eyes. I can see the new villain’s face now, but I don’t know him yet. With a little time, he’ll come to me.

What do you do when your instincts tell you that there’s an issue with a piece you’re already far along writing? Have you ever faced this challenge?

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