My current WIP, Hunted in Shadow, is set up around a murder and a missing person. The murder peripherally affects the hero and the missing person is what brings our heroine to the location for the story in the first place. The missing person is Marley’s best friend Anya. I had originally intended to write a freebie novella prequel to this story detailing Anya’s story and what happens prior to the murder that sparks this book. But I kept getting stalled out on the details of what exactly Anya knew about the murder that led to her disappearance. But I haven’t been able to come up with squat, which gave me several holes in my current book.
I couldn’t figure it out! I knew that Anya had a meeting with the dead man on the day he died. So does Marley. Well that was all good and well, but I couldn’t figure out how her disappearance connected to the murder. Did she see who’d killed him? Figure out how it was done? And how did the bad guy find out? Did he find out? Was that why Anya disappeared?
The fact of the matter is, there just wasn’t enough story for Anya to justify even a novella. And today I finally figured out the answer. And it’s so simple really. Anya’s disappearance doesn’t have anything to do with the murder. That Marley thinks that it does is what actually makes her a target. She does, in fact, manufacture the circumstances that endanger her own life because she has the same tendency to look at the pieces and assume they are connected–just like I do. Not that she or the hero know that. And it’s halfway through the book before they realize that something else is going on, by which point it’s already too late. They’re both stuck in the stituation and have to move forward.
I should try this simplify thing more often. It seems to clarify all sorts of things.