I've been fussing and fuming over the first three chapters of the work-in-progress again, specifically wondering how I could avoid the dreaded info dump. You know, when the author has a lot of information to get into the story to explain what's going on, as well as the characters' motivations?
As it was, I had two characters having a long conversation about why the hero was where he was during the inciting incident, and the revelation that the hero's just got a new brief, to do with a murder (he's a barrister). Drury describes the crime and how he got involved in the prosecution. Unfortunately, it's a pretty static scene.
But what to do? The crime's important in terms of the plot. I cut and cut, but still...zzzzzz.... And he's going to have to explain it again to the heroine later, too.
Then, this morning, I came up with a solution. How? I don't know. I've been pretty much mentally complaining without much luck. Maybe my subconscious saw a way out while I slept.
All I know is, I realized that instead of having the story set just after the crime and Drury's meeting with the victim's brother, I can set it later, when it's nearly time for the trial. It still makes sense in terms of the inciting incident; in fact, in hindsight, it's better.
And now my hero doesn't have to explain to his friend what's going on, because the friend already knows. I can get the information in as required, but in much smaller pieces. And this way, I can keep the focus less on the crime, and more on the relationship developing between the hero and heroine.
Whew! I'm both relieved and excited. I've got a lot of re-writing to do, but it feels like a good decision, so I'm a happy writer today.
(Why the bathtub? It's a reference to Archimedes' realization about displacement, which apparently came to him when he got in his tub. He then went running naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting, "Eureka!" I wasn't quite that excited.)