As I've been nearing the end of the first draft of my work-in-progress, there's been a plot element I've been finding more and more of a worry, as in "How am I going to make this work?" It's not a main plot element (something vitally important to the developing relationship between the hero and heroine); it's more of a lead-in to the next book, which is about the current w-i-p's heroine's sister. It does have a function in the book as I've written it, to "up" the suspense and dramatic tension, as well as introduce the heroine of the next book and give more of a sense of the relationships in the current heroine's family.
But -- and this what's been bothering me -- I'm worried that this element is "too much" in the current w-i-p, and since I don't plan to resolve the sister's situaton in this book, I'm worried that readers will be upset/disappointed, feel cheated and also see it as a shameless attempt to compel them to buy the next book.
Now, I do want readers to be intrigued enough by what they've heard about the heroine's sister to want to know more about her; if they read MY LORD'S DESIRE, they'll have met the hero, too, and I want them to be curious about his fate, as well. And I want them to understand that Sis is in jeopardy.
This dilemma has been in the back of my mind all week as I've been approaching the final scenes, to the point where I've been thinking, "What wrong with a nice, simple marriage of convenience story? Sigh...."
This morning, the solution came to me. I'm going to have to take out much of the material dealing with Sis, and only use some of it at the end. This is going to make for a lot of work, and I'm going to lose several pages, but this decision "feels" right. I don't want a subplot really distracting from the main plot and characters, and I certainly don't want the readers to get to the end and think, "What the --?!?"
Having come to my decision, I'm going to carry on to the end as if I've already done the revising, then go back to the beginning with this new notion of the story, and rework the entire book with that in mind, among the other things I mentioned yesterday.
Yep, this writing. Walk in the park. Piece o' cake. Sit down and tell a story.