But first, the kiss

They’ve kissed! I’m pleased with how it worked out after getting stuck a few times. It was in the rain on a motorway shoulder. An unexpected amount of action takes place on motorway shoulders in this book. For all the glamorous locations, these two seem to be more honest about their feelings on motorway shoulders.

One reason it was so difficult to get them to that point was that I skipped ahead. I tried not to. I really tried. But I was in Spain and it seemed wrong to be sitting on a park bench in Cadiz, staring out at the Atlantic ocean and writing about Tess being restless at home. I wanted to be writing about Diego returning to Spain. I wanted to capture all of the little details. It may have been a mistake (but you never know in this business. The editing process will tell).

I used to skip ahead and write out of order as a rule. I used to write what I was inspired to write, skipping back and forward in the document until I had the important scenes in place and then going through and filling the holes. It was instinctive to write that way because I was going with the flow of inspiration and scared of losing the scenes playing in my mind. But the problem is that the existence of ‘holes’ is a fallacy.

If a scene isn’t serving a purpose except moving the plot along, then it probably should be cut and solved another way. If it doesn’t have any emotional stakes, why should the reader want to keep reading?

When I skipped ahead with this WIP, I left myself with a ‘hole’. I started ‘filling’ it several times. Once, I used dialogue with a secondary character to get the reader up to speed, but the scene just petered out and I got stuck. So I started again with another scene between the two main characters, but, again, it just stopped because I was thinking of the plot and the emotion in the scene was absent. I couldn’t work out what the stakes were.

The ‘aha’ moment was in changing the point of view. It was a simple solution which I should have arrived at much sooner. Tess was the one experiencing the awkwardness of being home, so she could provide the background to that in a few concise paragraphs and also explain the passage of time. Then I got back on track with what emotions I needed to build up. Because they were about to kiss. And there was a lot of angst to brew.

Which brings me back to the trouble with skipping ahead. I have my detailed plan/synopsis. I knew they were supposed to kiss and why. But until I wrote that kiss, I didn’t appreciate the emotional ramifications of it. Everything I wrote afterward felt bland. But now they’re starting to realise the temptation they face. Will they succumb before the conflicts resolve? And what will the consequences be?

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