I just finished reading Writing with Quiet Hands by Paula Munier. It is a wonderful book that I can recommend to all writers. It was towards the end that Ms. Munier provided me with an aha moment. She talked about the importance of carrying the theme through the book, and about using metaphors for that theme.
I had never thought about it that way. I credit beginners luck for the fact that I successfully accomplished keeping the plot theme seamless in my first book, and I suspect beginners luck continues in my second.
I just printed out the first rough draft of my second Caitlyn Jamison mystery and now ask myself – what is the theme of this book? What message do I want the reader to take away? Have I been consistent with metaphors? Is the interwoven subplot consistent? Does it need to be?
And further, has my protagonist driven the story or has the story driven or overtaken her? I think the second is closer to the truth, so some rewriting, redirecting is in order.
This second go-around has provided insights that I didn’t have in the first book. I realize now that my books are character driven. The plot line I envisioned at the start of the process has changed drastically over the development of the book. That’s because the characters I created developed their own personalities and passions.
I allowed my characters freedom to explore their world, and in doing so they drove the plot line and I am very thankful they stayed true to the theme.
I have much work ahead of me to tighten the manuscript and make sure my protagonist is front and center. And time to think about answering the above questions. What exactly do I want my readers to take away from this second book?