I know most people have what they call an "aha" moment, but I had a "holy crap!" moment. And it is both exciting and terrifying.
I've known for a while now that I needed to change a lot in the last third or so of my book. I just had no idea how to actually change it. It's really hard when you've spent a few years and more than one draft with all of the moments in the story being pretty much the same. It's difficult to picture another way to write it, or different scenes to replace the ones you know aren't working.
Well, last night I finally had a breakthrough. I was actually just trying to brainstorm one of the subplots, and I thought of something that worked, but then the scene I was picturing kept going and ended up in the main plot's territory. I just let the idea run free to see where it would take me. And then suddenly things were happening that I did not expect.
My first thought was, "HOLY CRAP," followed by a "Nooooooooooo." Because I knew instantly that what I had imagined was absolutely perfect. But it was going to change everything.
I always knew I was going to need to basically scrap the last ten chapters and start from scratch, maybe saving a moment here or there that still worked. But this new scene I imagined makes most of those chapters unusable. My characters' whole relationship has to change after this moment, in a way I never imagined, or even would have considered to be possible way back when this was just a short story. But I've spent so much time with this story that I know this change feels right. It's just going to be a lot of work.
I finally feel like I'm on to something. I have no idea right now what will actually happen after this particular moment in order to lead the story to its end, but I think I can figure it out. Sometimes change can be terrifying, but it can also be a lot of fun. There's nothing quite like that feeling when all of the pieces start to fall into place.