This week, I’ve taken a massive risk.
I’ve totally revamped my approach to The Dream List, and added Jack’s story arc. I’d been denying that the story needed it for ages but finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I just had to do it! The more I’ve written it, the more I’ve longed to explore Jack as a character and give the reader more of him. He’s not just Evie’s love interest after all- he’s a character in his own right and deserves his own portions of the story. I’ve also realised that the story is as much about him as it is about Evie. They’re both chasing dreams- Evie wants to be more exciting and live life to the full, Jack wants to move on from the past. So I took the writerly decision to give him his very own chapters! He’s jumping off the page already!
I didn’t take the decision lightly. I weighed up all the pros and cons of it and decided it would be a good move. My main concern was that the story would lose its identity. It’s always been about Evie and now she has to share it with Jack- would it work? But surprisingly it does. The first chapters give a sharp contrast. Evie thinks her life is perfect and complete, while Jack is missing something from his. The rest of the chapters will advance both their stories and they will eventually come together. My aim is to show how they’re meant to be together- they’ll each provide the other with what they’ve been missing.
Sometimes in writing, as in life you have to take a leap of faith. There’s no point in playing it safe- that won’t get you the best results. I was 200 pages into a draft that was solely Evie’s story and decided the benefits of playing around with adding Jack’s arc would far outweigh the risks if it worked out. So far, it’s working very well. It’s injected new life into the draft and the changing narrator keeps the pace quick and energetic.
If you have an idea for your story, go ahead and try it. The worst thing that can happen is it doesn’t work out. On the other hand, your idea could be just what the story needs! If you don’t try you won’t find out. Writing is very much a game of trial and error. I had one story I tried writing in a million different ways and each idea turned out worse than the one before! But I learned a lot from that experience, namely that the story was impossible to write! Writing a novel is all about making mistakes, learning from them and improving your craft as a result. Experiment with characters, plots and different narratives to create a truly unique novel!