I love it when I figure out how to solve a problem in one section of the story using something from another section. Case in point: I have had a bit of a problem with a key character who gets killed off in the first part of my story. I need the death to show how an imortal can be killed. However, I have three problems:
- My hero, Michael, doesn’t know for sure if the guy is dead because the area gets blown up. (I’ll spare you the details on why he can’t be sure, even with DNA testing of the body, but yes I have thought it through.)
- I have to blow the store up because if the police find the body with stab wounds and all, they will immediately blame Michael. It was self-defense, but this is a novella. I don’t have the word count to explore Michael getting arrested, finding a lawyer, getting bail… And besides, the big bad villain has to blow up the store. Too many important documents need destroying…
- I know my hero will have doubts about whether this guy lived or died since he wasn’t able to watch the body for twenty-four hours the way he wanted to. I know that as the author, it’s my job to exploit this fear. But I didn’t know how to do it, so I decided to let it go for a while.
I know… Chalk it up to “writer problems.” These are the kinds of silly things we think about constantly. It’s part of the second/third draft period when we try to massage the story to make it work with the characters and plot.
Last night, I figured out my answer with another group of creatures I decided to bring into this particular story: zombies. The voodoo kind that are under the control of a witch. I now have a way this guy can be dead but appear alive for a while and totally make my hero doubt all he has been led to believe.
My zombies in the second half of the story answered the problem I had in the first half of the story. And now I get to totally mess with Michael’s brain! Ha ha ha! Achievement unlocked!
Oh, and I just now realized. I still need a few events that lead up to the climax… If my hero has to deal with a wizard he already killed I’ve got at least one or two filler chapters that will help tie in the first parts of the story. Yet another problem just got solved!
It’s times like this when I love writing!
How about you? Have you ever solved a plot problem using another part of your story?