I'm in a rut. I've been working on the same book for two and a half years now. And yes, for two of those years I've had major health problems. But I'm really, really ready to move on, at least emotionally, even if the physical is struggling to catch up.
I feel like I'm in a rut with this story. The one note I get consistently from my critique group is "all dialog, no action." And they're right. That's how I write to begin with. As I edit this the pages I find myself cutting, cutting, cutting. The dialog rambles. It runs on for pages. It reveals stuff the audience doesn't need to know, either yet or ever. In the midst of all those cuts- sometimes half a page or more goes right out the window- I lose the idea of adding action and description. And that's just my major problem with the early chapters.
If feels like it's all info dump. But there's a lot of info that the various characters need. Daisy (and the audience) are totally new to this world. She needs to be told how everything works. Then we discover that Daisy has had some exposure to this world, and The Boss needs to know about it. Everything so far takes place in a beauty salon, except for a fight with her roommate, which exists illustrate how Daisy is an outsider with her own "people", so that we'll see clearly why she becomes so attached to her new situation and why she wouldn't just run for the hills at the first opportunity.
I've written up through the first major turning point. Daisy has done something that commits her to one side of the coming fight. My problem is, I don't know where to go from here. I picked up with this year's NaNo with a sub-plot. Someone comes to Daisy looking for help with an off the books job. I know more or less how that is going to resolve. I also know that it can't all happen in one blurp in the middle of the book. It's got to weave in with the other story lines. But for now, it's a blurp. I'll figure out how it weaves later. Being a sub-plot (although I think it's going to be a rather important one) the arc is much smaller. Less for the characters to do. That I'm not too worried about.
It's the continuation of the main plot that has me worried. There is an attack, and the group responds by.... I don't know. Counter attack would be an obvious plan. but counter attack who? There's no counter organization that they know of, all though there've been some fishy things happening lately. They don't have an id on the attackers. I guess they could work on that. But how? How do I want to have them figure it out? I don't want it to be cliche; I do want it to fit in with the world that I've built so far. There have to be multiple red herrings. More attacks on different fronts. The humans have formed their own little group- they could be a distraction.
Maybe I need to do some more work on my Big Bad. I know what she wants, I know some of what she's done or is doing to achieve it. Maybe I need to write a little bit more about her, figure out what she might see as a weakness to exploit or a danger to be eliminated. Maybe if I do that I will get a clearer picture of what comes next.
So far I've looked at this whole thing from Daisy's perspective. I've worked to put every obstacle I could in her path. Now, instead of thinking "what would be the worst thing that could happen to her now" I need to think "what's the best thing the opposition could do to reach their own goals right now."
Hmmm. Maybe that change in perspective will bounce me out of that rut.