Friday, November 20, 2009
Stumbling Into Muddy Waters
I've written myself into a wall (metaphorically speaking, anyway). My NaNo project has hit a stumbling block, and I have no idea where I'm going to take it. I think I'm about 2/3 of the way through the story at this point, which is a good thing. I'm on the downhill side, but evidently there is a cliff I did not expect.
I've heard many different perspectives on this type of problem. Some people say when you're stuck, kill somebody. I had a hard enough time dealing with one death, not sure if I can do another one. Okay, I guess I am over Trevor's mother dying. But I don't know who else I would kill anyway. So I doubt that's going to be the option I take.
One problem is that the storyline has changed from my initial ideas. See, when I first began telling Trevor's story, I imagined him wanting to get out of town as soon as possible. He is physically different than everyone else around him(significantly so), and he hides (both figuratively and literally) inside a disguise. With the death of his mother (which he is directly responsible for) and discovery of his "differences" by the antagonist, he is on the run. His friend Brent helps him escape from the clutches of the antagonist, and their thoughts are to get him out of the city. They have no idea what is like outside the city (since nobody ever leaves the city), but it has to be better than what punishments await him otherwise.
Then the plot takes an abrupt turn and Trevor discovers this other sector of humanity hiding beneath the city. Trevor meets a woman (Mara) who declares she is his destined wife, and he starts to uncover the horrific truth about humanity's past. The need to know the entire truth drives him further underground towards a mysterious bunker from another era, with Mara becoming comfortably (and uncomfortably) close. The antagonist (not having given up on finding Trevor) breaks up the party again, capturing Brent and inadvertedly collapsing the tunnel end.
So now Mara and Trevor are trapped underground with no apparent escape, just as they are reaching what may be the truth he seeks. They have almost no supplies and no discernable way out. A search through the underground complex reveals some truth about man's past and eventually they find an alternate exit, climbing their way back up to emerge within the sewers beneath the city.
Here is where I am stuck. Trevor's need to escape has disappeared, transformed into a need to stay near this woman. He also has to try to find his friend Brent and free him, if he can. Finally, the chains that have enslaved humanity must be broken. He realizes this, and ...
Here's the crux of it. I have no idea how I get him to save humanity. HOLY FREAKIN' COW, BATMAN! Can I really have created a world so dependent on their own slavery that they cannot exist without it? And how do I get this one insignificant person to overthrow the existing order without causing the city to destroy itself in the resulting chaos?
AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Okay. Virtual scream of frustration finished. I don't have any hair to pull out, so I had to talk through this here. I do have some inklings now that have emerged in my brain, so this wasn't a complete waste of time. Oh, and for those keeping track, I am about a day and a half behind (or so). Most of that is because of these plot issues. But word count wise, I'm a hair below 30K. So I'm not really too far behind. I will be catching up this weekend and hopefully getting ahead even.
So what do you think of the storyline so far? Intriguing enough to read the story? All comments are welcome.