I doubt that novel writing by polling ever actually works, but…
Okay. I’m revising. You know that. I had this storyline (which I expressed my doubts about here). Basically, the daughters of my protagonist: the older one is white. The younger one is half black. They have different mothers. Stir in a merchant father, the year 1800 and the English countryside and upper classes and you have my novel.
I had a plot thread that was winding around my novel, that the girls, who are quite young, were never told that they had different mothers–so they believe that they have the same mom. For some reason, in the draft, this plot became kind of important and the revelation to the older one that Mama isn’t her Mama was going to be part of the almighty hard to reach climax.
The more I’m dealing with this plot, the more ridiculous and soap opera-like it feels.
BUT… the more I’m revising, angsting and hating this ridiculous book (and hacking, cutting and relooking at sources), another plot line has come to mind.
When I found this resource, which has helped me immensely with how to place my characters within their sphere of society, there were numerous examples of illegitimate, mulatto children who were sent to England to be educated and to live; usually they were sent to boarding schools, sometimes they lived with their white relatives, other times they were apprenticed or became domestics.
Many of these children ran into legal trouble trying to gain their inheritances because they were illegitimate or because their relatives claimed the money or property for themselves.
I wondered whether Miles could be a trustee for a fellow merchant who had a half-black child and now, Miles has to work through legal issues to make sure the child gains his or her father’s money. It would go along with the reasons why Miles wanted to move back to England, to which he and his family are still adjusting, and it would be a foil to how Mady is treated. It would highlight more about the era, too, I think.
On top of this, of course, there are Miles’s daddy issues and his affair, which is revealed by the village social climber to all and sundry.
So, in summary:
Choice A or Choice B?
(And, indeed, Choice C or Choice D)
Write your choice in below.
Also, what kind of troublesome plot lines have come up in your stories?