Because I am so busy, in order to carve out time for my writing, I have curtailed a great deal of my online reading. I miss keeping up with my favorite bloggers and sites on writing and photography and politics, but choices have to be made and writing comes first (after the job that pays the bills, anyway). These days, I just scan and delete most of the e-zines and newsletters that I subscribe to, except for one: Randy Ingermanson's weekly e-zine. I read virtually every word of every article in that little gem. Some of them I save and re-read. The e-zine typically causes me to click over to his website to check out what might be new there.
The June 2011 issue of Ingermanson's e-zine contains an article called "Creating: Old Story, New Story" which caused me to knock myself in the head. I have been groping towards an understanding of this concept in my recent novels. I think the problem I have with the beginnings of my novels is that I sometimes start the story too late: sometimes I might be better of to show a little of "Old Story" and let the "New Story" surprise the reader as much as it does the protagonist!
Other times, (especially in the stories that I do not outline first) sometimes I haven't really identified the "Old Story" until I've gotten fairly far along in the writing process and then it comes out as part of the back story. I think maybe I need to figure out the "Old Story" line at the same time I'm working out the plot of the "New Story" and highlight it more.
That seems so obvious, now, after reading the article. I think I've been moving in that direction, but now I have vocabulary which will allow me to consider it very clearly as an isolated aspect of the novel that I need to work on at the editing stage, to make sure that the "Old Story" is clearly distinguishable and that sufficiently conflicts with the New Story to ramp up the tension.
I wanted to pop up here and share the link to Ingermanson's e-zine. (Again.)