I'm working on Book 3 and I could tell something was missing. As much as I loved the characters, and the situation I'd gotten them into (oh it is delicious, but I cannot tell you!), there was some niggling little thing bugging me. Something wasn't right.
Fortunately, my editor saw it too. And after a conversation with her yesterday, I now have new direction. What I was missing, apparently, was some deeper angst. In a short category novel, those backgrounds are key. What happened to these people in the past to make them who they are now? What about their pasts prevents them from being together or from seeing they are right for each other? What must they help each other to realize before they can live happily ever after?
It seems straightforward enough, but it rarely is. My characters are real to me, and until I know what their problems truly are, it's impossible to just make a bunch of stuff up that doesn't fit. Seriously. I guess that sounds silly, but it's true.
My editor hit on something perfect that fit the hero so well I wondered how I hadn't realized it about him before. Combine that with some other things I learned about him, and with the heroine's background, and we've got one dark book. But I'm up for the challenge! I'm looking forward to the revisions to the first three chapters, and what will happen as I move forward from there. I'm excited about it again, and not worried that something is missing. It's a great feeling.
And, once again, there's a deadline staring me in the face. So time to get busy!
How do you know when you have all your elements in place? Do character backgrounds take you a while to learn? Or do you know everything right away?