I am feeling so happy right now.
I sat down this evening to start writing: Chapter 1, page 1. But something was stopping me, and it wasn't procrastination any more. It was this niggling feeling that something big was missing from my story and notes so far. I couldn't 'get at' one of my main characters. He keeps his emotions all bottled up and doesn't communicate well with his family, and I was struggling to know how to portray his feelings without loads of exposition.
The book I've been using to guide my writing (which I will do a separate post about and review of soon) contains a couple of final exercises to do before the non-stop drafting. One of these was along the lines of 'Explore your sub-text in a diagram'. Very little guidance than that, except to have fun!
So I just stuck my protagonists in the middle then spidered out around them, dropping in the other characters, with notes on the connections etc, until I had all my characters down. Suddenly the problem was staring me in the face. I had these two central characters, with other characters clustered around them forming sub-plot....and a whacking great blank space next to my male protagonist. His wife had all kinds of connections, all over the place, but he had no-one who was on his side. No-one to hear his side of the story - to be honest, no-one who really understood him. Weird how guilty you feel when your characters are suffering...
Having no-one to fill this gap might be ok, if his total isolation would add to the story. But it hit me, with a resounding clang around the head, that having just one person who really 'gets' him will make it beautifully clear that no-one else does.
I needed it to be a woman for various reasons, and I needed her to be no question of a love interest. So she's much older than him. Hoorah, I could even bump her off right near the climax when he has no-one else to turn to...
I think this is what is known as a breakthrough.
Have you had any breakthroughs or 'Eureka' moments with your writing that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about them - it fills you with such elation!