A while back, Dany over at Mythtakes wrote a great post comparing stories to flowers. When we first get an idea for a story, many of us talk about having a 'seed' of an idea - but we forget to take the analogy further. Dany reminded me that, like seeds, often you can be mistaken about what it is that you're actually planting - you might think it's a parsley plant, only to wait a few weeks and find out that it was actually basil. Or you might plant a carrot seed, only to find out it was a potato plant.
Sometimes the surprises can be good; sometimes they can be bad. Even in the short time I've been writing seriously, I've experienced both: The Project gave me a bad surprise when I realised that I really, truly hated the MC and didn't want to write her. TBAEO (To Be An Evil Overlord) gave me a lot of fun surprises along the way.
So here I am, a hair away from finishing Jess - and there are more surprises. Jess isn't the book I thought it was going to be; what book ever is? And as I prepare to head overseas for the month, I'm putting Jess aside in one way - but I'm also mentally preparing myself to mull over an important question while I'm away:
Is the book that Jess has turned out to be the one I want it to be?
Overall, I think that it is. Or will be; there's a lot of editing to do yet.
It started out as a light-hearted, action-y sort of story about a girl who's told she must kill her best friend, but refuses. Instead, she would team up with her friend and they would fight the system together - and win.
Now? Now it's deeper. It's darker - or at least, it has the potential to be. Jess isn't just facing the system that set her up, she's facing all of her old fears - her entire past come back to haunt her. I know that somewhere in this lies the potential for a subtle, chilling, memorable story (which is a nice step from a few weeks ago where I was in despair over the whole thing); I just have to wait for it to bloom. And for me to bloom, so that my writing skills are what they need to be to tell the tale.
And you know what? Waiting's hard. But more on that another day. For now, I need to go start packing ;)