I love creating stories with intelligent heroines–especially the ones for whom the television is simply their largest computer monitor. However, the backstory for the heroine in my new novel is giving me fits. How can I hide a crucial piece of her personal history from her? If it’s anywhere on the World Wide Web, she’ll find it. Anything else violates readers’ ability to suspend belief. I’ve had to trash every storyline I’ve come up with. Even the heroine isn’t going for them. Every time I try a new premise, she scoffs, “Please–tell me you’re joking.”
Her need to get to that information is supposed to drive her portion of the story. Despite all my attempts to kick it, push it, and bully it into gear; it stalled. And she smirked. I hate that. What I hated even more was having to let her go. But I did.
Just as I prepared to move on to another story, an idea hit. The only way Her Geekiness won’t be able to find the crucial piece of information is that she doesn’t know it exists. She’s not looking for it! The revelation energizes her story. Exposure of the information is the climax–just as it has always been. Now however for her, it’s not just unexpected, it’s a mind-blowing surprise. Of course, there are people around her who know of the information–and therein lies the dramatic irony.
I’ve come up with a different mechanism to set her story in motion. Matriochka dolls of deception. Opening each reveals another layer of misdirection, until the innermost one (the truth) is reached. Yes I know–more rewrite and I haven’t gotten anywhere near the end of the first draft. But at least I’m heading toward it instead of writing start after start. Hmmm–now I’m wondering about multiple sets of Matriochka dolls…