Have you ever been working on a story and it’s almost there, but there is something missing? Maybe it needs a character or a scene or a plot point that would change the work from pretty good to fantastic?
In my case, I’ve been thinking about my next Mik Murdoch novel. For those of you who have been paying attention, I have been talking about Mik Murdoch: Crisis of Conscience. That book WILL be coming out soon. The exact date is still a closely guarded secret but, I promise, will be announced in a few weeks.
No, the book I’m thinking of is Mik 4. The final title is still a while away from being decided.
Anyway…I started thinking about book 4 while book 3 was still being written. That was so I could be sure I left something in the previous book that I could use in the next. As I talked about in my first paragraph, that something could be a character, a plot point or a scene. It might even be all of the above.
I had my bits and pieces in order and had a pretty clear idea of what book 4 would be about, who would be in it and so on. That was all fine. But I had this little voice nagging at me in the back of my mind. It was telling me that something was missing.
Then, yesterday, I had a eureka moment. I figured out how to make the story richer, more emotionally present and cause even more trouble for Mik. It was like the sun came out.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but book 4 will really focus on how Mik relates to the people around him. He is a superhero but he is also a boy. I think he will be eleven or twelve in this book. For those of you who have kids (or were kids yourself) you might remember that at that age, things start to change physically and emotionally.
That will be the same for Mik.
The missing link is a totally unexpected relationship that Mik is unprepared for. I won’t say what exactly (that would be spoiling it) but Mik will already be dealing with a lot with the people he knows. This will throw everything into an unprecedented (for him) level of chaos.
But why did I feel the need?
Well, the existing plot line I had developed felt like a one-trick pony. Mik had those people who he had a very straight-forward interaction with. The original problem only slightly aggravated things for him. Now, with the new twist, his existing problems take on a new dynamic. The twist will see Mik’s efforts to deal with things thrown askew for reasons he isn’t immediately able to recognize or deal with.
It should be a lot of fun.
Do you look for those links when you write? Are you trying to find new and interesting ways to torture your characters?
I’m constantly searching for links. It’s like I’m a forgetful fence-builder.
What doesn’t kill your characters only makes them stronger, in my opinion. Torturing characters helps them grow. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to make myself feel better about tormenting the kids I write about.
I’m excited to see what changes are in store for Mik! I remember being eleven… not a fun time.
Hey Kelsey, thanks for commenting. I think there are challenges to every age. And you are right…the more experiences and challenges a character faces (real or imagined) the stronger they ultimately become.