Today's been one of those days where things keep popping up and put other things in perspective, writing wise that is.
First of all, I realized what part of the problem was with HF, my WIP. I've blanked a few things out...I don't want to give much away, but I said to my CP, "It is partially the problem with having a hero with significant issues. I was making this too much HIS story…and it is a lot HIS story because of (leaving out issue here, lol) and the effect (of something else) on him….but it has to first and foremost be Shannyn’s story...Granted there are still bits that MUST be in Jonas’s pov, but I always need to be aware that this is Shannyn’s story."
I need to put myself in my heroine's shoes. When I do that, everything falls into place better.
I also realized I am missing a much earlier scene that will change very little of the ending, per se, but for pacing and making sense as to the development of the romance, must be there. It won't be a long scene, but it's necessary I think.
Also, I had some fun today and brainstormed with a friend. First of all, it made me realize how far I've come. We were talking about beginnings and describing characters and I made the point that you need to know your characters. Who they are and what makes them tick. Your job as a writer is to show your reader those things over the course of the story. If you do a lovely big info dump in the beginning and detail who he is, what he looks like, and all the baggage he's bringing with him, and the same for the heroine, you've accomplished two things. One, you've probably bored your reader to death. And the second, you've now outlined all your inner conflict, left nothing for us to wonder about and now the whole rest of your book will rely on whatever external plot you devise. Neither of these are good things. There's nothing like chatting with someone else to remind you of these facts, because at times we can be apt to forget them. For the record, I've made these mistakes and many more. I am reminded of my first manuscript, and that says it all, trust me.
I also said that your opening needs to present questions. And the rest of the story is answering those questions. Why are these two people here? Who are they? Why are they going to want or deserve to be together?
I just released my second Samhain book, and my writing took a big leap when I wrote it, I think. I also think it took another leap when I wrote Hired By THe Cowboy and possibly an even bigger one with Marriage at Circle M. I looked at my opening pages of MCM and realized I'd done just that. I put my 2 characters directly in action. You know that they know each other. You learn a few other things too. But boy-o, there are lots of questions posed. It's one of the reasons MCM is so close to my heart.
THe lessons I'm learning from the WIP are hard ones...not "What to do" lessons but more "What not to do", but that's ok. Learning is learning, and sometimes the hardest learnt lessons teach us the most. THe important thing is to keep learning and growing.