If you are a loyal follower of this blog, you’ve seen me opine/rant on how much I love plotting. I believe in it wholeheartedly. I write three and four book single title series. There are dozens of characters, big and small, that require wrangling, as well as multiple sub-plots and multi-book story arcs. Plotting is what makes all those things manageable. It prevents problems. I also believe that without prior plotting, something in your book will come back to bite you in the ass. And I have proof.
Meet Trina Trimble. The most delightfully ditzy character I’ve ever created. She played the sidekick, the comic relief to my heroine in Love At High Tide. Her over-the-top antics dragged them into equal parts trouble and fun. Here’s an example of a Trina-ism:
“Shhh. Watch those muscles ripple across his back. When was the last time you saw a guy that ripped in real life? We need to quietly admire all that flexing, golden skin. You know, like how you make me be quiet when we’re in art museums.”
Nobody sees rainbows in the middle of a Class Five hurricane like Trina. Logic and Trina were like oil and water. Able to mix briefly, but they never remained combined for very long. All great descriptions of a foil for a heroine, right?
Except…I was idiotic enough to come up with an idea for a sequel. After I not only finished, but turned in Love at High Tide. Which meant it was too late to go back and make her less ditzy, less crazily spontaneous, less of a hot mess. My editor bought the sequel. And I was stuck writing a book with Trina as the heroine. Stuck coming up with strong-as-titanium motivations for her antics. A woman who decided to train as a private investigator so she’d have an excuse to dress up in disguises. A woman who wouldn’t know how to be cautious if her life depended on it…which it does.
“I swear, if a merman swam up right now, you’d hop right into the ocean with him. No questions asked.”
Entirely true. If life was going to toss a merman at her, why on earth would she waste time asking questions? Act first, think later. Some people might call that approach backward, but it always worked for Trina.
As you can tell by the above cover, I ended up finding a way to make Trina believable. Was it hard? You bet. Was she still side-splittingly funny? Of course. Did I learn from my mistake? Mostly. I do have a new series about rock stars where the drummer isn’t supposed to have a book. Of course, he’s a man-whore and lazy and hysterical…..oops – he might need his own book after all…