I’m a dedicated pantser, meaning I make my stories up as I’m writing them, but Forget I Told You is one story where I wish I knew how to work from an outline. It started as a concept in my head—the amnesia trope plus a sense of non-stop danger and action. (By the way, my other failing as an author is writing action.)
When I started, I knew Jay had amnesia and that he and Deron had been lovers in the past, but I didn’t know why Jay had amnesia—who’d done it to him or why they’d done it. That was yet to be discovered. The first third of the book, while the plot was being set up, had exactly the tone I’d been aiming for—psychological suspense with a hint of looming danger.
But it went off the rails at some point. I plowed on, because I’ve learned there’s a point in every book where I feel like abandoning it, and after I finished my first draft, I polished up a second draft. I closed my ears to the voice telling me I hadn’t done the concept justice and turned it over to my beta readers hoping they’d assauge my fears by unanimously loving it. They didn’t. Even before I’d heard back from them all, I knew I had a problem. The book was going to need a major rewrite.
I needed to throw out the second half (except for a few salvageable sex scenes) and finish the story differently. It would’ve been great if I could’ve plotted a new ending, including figuring out all the secrets that needed to be revealed, but I was still a pantser. Outlining still didn’t work for me. So I had to pants my way through a second second half, hoping this one came out better. It definitely did, but I’m still not sure I wrote the story I originally intended to write. I feel like that concept is still out there somewhere, eluding my grasp.
Between my struggles with writing action scenes and my inability to work backwards, I’m probably never going to the greatest mystery writer, but I love reading a good suspenseful romance so I’ll keep trying. My next attempt was supposed to take place on a cruise, so I don’t think I’m going to write that one, after all. But if you enjoy my bumbled attempts at suspense (like Forget I Told You and High Lonesome), drop me a line, and I’ll come up with a new idea.