Having a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ Moment?

The craft of writing is not a straightforward process. Novel writers tend to have a basic plot and several key scenes in mind, and then the act of writing tries to tie all this into some kind of enjoyable story.  Well, I have a story to tell on myself.

When Daniel Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe, he included a scene where “Robby” is on the island and sees the wreckage out on the ocean.  He removes his clothes in order to swim out to the debris.  As he gathers items to bring back with him, he maximizes his haul by stuffing some things into his pockets.

Oops. Pockets without clothes?

While drafting the second book in my End of an Age quadrilogy (yes, that’s a made-up word), I got to the next exciting scene.  Reuben, the male half of the heroic pair from the first book (Darkness upon the Land) enters a high-security facility.  A secondary character who knows only what she’s heard about him decides to determine if he’s actually the guy she thinks he is.

Some esoteric “code talk” goes on between them. I thought I had carefully set up the framework of this scene by establishing all the bits of information earlier in the story.  However, the whole interaction is initiated because she recognizes the surname on his tag.  One of the means Reuben employed to get into the facility involved using an alias.

Oops. Recognize his name when he’s using an alias?

I had a Robinson Crusoe moment.  Something was going to have to give, and after stewing about it for a while I finally figured out what could stay and what would have to go.  Luckily I only had a shipwreck instead of a train wreck.

When a story has multiple threads that generally weave together at the end, it can be easy to focus so much each separate thread that you don’t realize each has elements that won’t let you join them. Resolving that issue just means your creative thinking will have to enter the problem-solving realm.  We all have lots of practice at that.

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