You know this famous joke about the guy who paint all the floor … to get caught in a corner, surrounded by a freshly applied layer of paint?
I do not know if you are like me, but there isn’t one story where I did not commit this blunder in writing… Even when I had a plan!
Last time, I was so hesitant that I missed a contest. It was a historical fantasy thing that worked perfectly … as long as I did not notice a 5-year gap in the dates!
A head-banging puzzle!
It was terrible conundrum, a head-banging puzzle: either I changed the date and the age of the main character, and the plot fell flat. Or I kept the factual error by arbitrarily changing the year, and it was a great story. (The story being in submission, I do not speak more about it).
I should have done more research. The mistake would have jumped in the face and it would have given another story.
I am happily preparing a series of historical mysteries following Domus Justice. (published in Fiction River 27, edited by the talented Kris Kathryn Rusch) I realized that — I who adore the antique period – I took liberties with the plans of the Domus (house) in question. Moreover, it was not clear where were the toilets, hum!
So, in the subsequent stories, after serious re-study of the plans, I saw that I misplaced the altar of Lares, in a corner of the back garden. Heaven what to do? See this Wikipedia entry for a layout.
In this case, I decided not to change anything in my text about this site … and to pay more attention next time!
In establishing your historical setting, you have to “do your homework”! But be careful not to stretch this search time indefinitely …
Following the right tracks!
I’m also wading into writing a crime novel (technically, a mystery). I found out that I sent my shy heroine twice to the same place. It allowed me to insert a beautiful sequence in the center of the novel … And to advance the investigation because she discovers a special clue.
But, what my heroine already knows when coming back to this place breaks some of the reveal progression, the tension. In addition, I have a bad tendency to multiply the oppositions when only one could do the trick. In short, have I put too much, diluting the danger?
Ah, la, la … I’m not out of the woods!
In a detective novel / polar / suspense where all the details must converge towards a strong resolution, painting myself in a corner (whereas I made a plan, I recall it!) led to a catastrophe. I got embroiled in my tracks, adding motive over motive for my villain, to be certain that the assassin had a strong incentive to act!
I have not solved this problem yet, so I’m working on another creation while letting my creative subconscious search for a viable solution.
When was the last time you “wrote yourself in a corner”?