I spent most of yesterday re-reading what I’d written on the abandoned book, as well as my notes on the project. I found some notes about what I wanted to do in revision that I must have made before I put this project aside, but the weird thing is, I don’t remember making these notes. They’re in my handwriting, so I must have, and they’re even legible, so it’s not as though I was writing in my sleep, or anything like that.
The nice thing is, they’re good ideas. They somewhat alter the plot of the book, but that’s what I need to do right now. When I eliminate all the stuff that has to go, I’ll need more action and conflict to throw in to replace it.
Meanwhile, there are key character traits I seem to have forgotten about. They’re supposed to be a big issue for the heroine, but they fall away after the first chapter.
Sometimes writing is like juggling. You have a lot of balls to keep in the air — character traits, aspects of the world, interpersonal conflicts, big-picture conflicts, and all of that is for multiple characters. Remembering to use all these things can be difficult because when you focus on one thing, you forget that other thing until you get halfway through the book and realize that your heroine’s key character trait hasn’t made an appearance in the last few chapters because she’s been busy dealing with other things.
And then sometimes you surprise yourself and find things that you didn’t plan but that come together. In this book, I seem to have had an unconscious theme of proving yourself. The heroine’s issue is that she wants to prove that she can do something. One of the secondary characters is worried about proving himself worthy. And the villain is trying to show the world what he can do. His intentions aren’t actually evil. He’s just enough of a narcissist that it doesn’t occur to him that the things he’s doing so he’ll look like a great hero will actually harm a lot of innocent people. Now that I’m aware this is there, I can work with it on purpose.