I have finished the partial of The Italian's Surprise Proposal and a draft of chapter four. I'm actually pretty happy with the partial at this point.
But I wrote half of chapter four yesterday and realized very quickly that I'd goofed.
You know the key is the why. Motivations, people. And I find it doesn't matter how much I do character sheets before hand, I might know the big motivations but when it comes to scenes, it's different. It's the little why's.
I had my characters gallivant off to a picnic. Sure, great for developing the romance. But oops...where's the conflict other than she doesn't WANT a romance? So these questions pop up...why would he ask her on a picnic? Why would she accept? And bingo, we need a set up scene to make sense of it all. What does he hope to achieve? What does she? And oddly enough, they both want the same thing. Only what they want and what they get are going to be very different. Oh, they'll think they've achieved it for a little bit. But not for long.
My CP came up with a good idea that I'm going to incorporate very soon, which will take this tiny bit of status quo and blow it up.
But really, it's not about just what motivates your characters but the little motivations, the layers of what they want and what they don't, all mixed together with their inner conflicts and then the external pressures - the situation that they're in - weighing on them. And that's what the middle of the book is for and it's one of the absolute hardest things for me to do which is why middles drive me bonkers. It's better when you get to the last 10-15 k and you can start blowing up worlds and putting things together for the HEA.
Of course when I get to that part, I'll likely blog about why I hate writing happy endings. LOL