Today I sat down and hashed out my plot holes (read Swiss cheese), with my favorite brainstorming partner, and was able to at long last come up with a direction for Shadow of the Panther. Keep in mind this is a book that already has two drafts in my digital trunk, and as I started the third I knew that my stakes were missing. When asking the question “what would happen if my protagonist just left?” I wasn’t able to answer the question properly because the answer was “nothing.” Now after today’s chat, I am able to say with confidence “everything would go to Hades in a hand basket”, and as weird as that sounds, that’s a good thing. I now know that it matters that Mylena is in this strange wonderland, it matters to her personally and to the people of the land at large.
But, as I planned out this new plot, something triggered in me and I began to weep. This poor girl has been through so much already. She’s lost every single thing that mattered to her. And what do I do? Dangle the only desire she truly has — that of a safe home — in front of her like an emotional carrot, and then rip it from her.
I’m so sorry Mylena. I know exactly how this feels, and what you will go through, but I promise that by the end of this you will be a stronger person with a clear future ahead of her. But right now, I feel like a really bad person.