Late additions and lengthy implications

So the novel I’m working on, Finnegans Deciphered, had a slight structural problem in the plot. I had decided recently that in order to make the tale a bit more realistic, I needed to make my protagonists more cost conscious. They are both retired, and though they enjoy frequent weekends at bed and breakfast inns throughout the Midwest, they are living on their retirement income and what little the wife makes as a freelance journalist. As you may know, staying at a bed and breakfast is certainly the most civilized way to travel, but it isn’t the cheapest.

Once I decided to make my husband and wife protagonists more careful about spending their money, I realized I had a plot problem. In the current draft of the novel I have them arriving in the small town on a Friday evening to stay until the next Tuesday morning. But the town is only a two-hour drive from their home in Kansas City. (Hey, what a coincidence. My home is in Kansas City!)

I don’t think it’s implausible for a couple to travel only two hours from home to enjoy a nice weekend away. But since I’ve decided to make them more cost conscious, I wondered why they would bother to pay for Friday night at the inn when they could easily drive to the town Saturday morning to see and do all of the things they will see and do. Why would they pay for a night’s lodging that they don’t need, especially if they do need to watch their pennies?

Similarly, I have them leaving Tuesday morning. But their business in town ends (they think) when the local library closes on Monday at 5:00 p.m. They could easily make the two hour drive home after that and sleep in their own bed, saving the cost of another night at the bed and breakfast. And the breakfasts as this inn aren’t particularly great, so that’s not an incentive for them to stay. (The fact that the local library is not open on Sunday explains why they stay through until Monday, and it also spreads a little more tension into the story, but enough about that.)

Regarding the Friday night arrival, I will either come up with some reason why they must be there on Friday evening, or I’ll shift their arrival to Saturday morning. Probably the latter, but we’ll see.

As for the current matter of them staying Monday night only to leave on Tuesday morning, I will remove this idea from their minds. They will think that they are going home on Monday night, but the development of the plot will dictate otherwise.

And so now I face the prospect of rewriting whole sections of the story as well as looking for the implications of all of this throughout the novel. I don’t mind this. It’s part of the job. Plus I’m glad I realized all of this now rather than have it pointed out to me by some reader years from now.

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2 Comments on “Late additions and lengthy implications”


  1. Love trying to iron these little things out! So fun. How about the car breaks down and they are stranded? That could add some tension and realism, since not having a lot of money costs them more money. (Not that you asked– sorry for a dive-bomb from the peanut gallery, just stopping by to say hello!)

  2. Averil Dean Says:

    I’m a lazy writer. I’d have left them a small inheritance or a bigger pension or something.


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