My apologies to Queen... but I just killed another character.
This is getting to be a habit. Either that or my protagonists are going to get a complex.
Funny thing is, it was easier this time.
Granted, I didn't know this character as well as I knew the other, although this character is equally pivotal. Without his/her death, the plot stalls and the protagonists remain comfortably where they are. So not a gratuitous death but a necessary one.
Spending time away from my "normal" life has helped to jump-start this story again. The Companion (AKA The Work of My Heart) requires me to go in-world -- and stay there. When I wrote my erotic romances, I could write anywhere - and did. Mostly in the privacy of my car while my kids were at dance classes and basketball practices, but in winter that car got cold so I'd head across the street to the local pizza parlor and blissfully write while sipping Pepsi and enjoying a slice.
Because The Companion is a fantasy, however, it requires more concentration to "live" in the world. I have a binder (purple, of course) filled with notes. There are tabs for "Characters", "World Details," the "Timeline" - which is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT TAB! - and "Maps" - which are crudely-drawn approximations where the various towns are so I don't forget where I put them.
So why is "Timeline" the MOST IMPORTANT? Because without it, I'd lose track of who is doing what. There are two direct plot lines and at least two that are referenced but we only see when the direct plots intersect with them. Not only is it important to keep the two main plots on track, but I have to make sure I don't have Event D in one of the referenced plots happening AFTER I referenced it in one of the main plots.
I also have a file box with tabs for the two different countries (Splithome and Renthome). Because color-coding always worked for me in school, the people are on white cards, the named animals on white with pink borders, the places are on orange cards and the greetings on green ones (the divider cards are purple :) ).
These two, the binder and the file box, work together as my Story Bible (SB) and enable me to pick up the threads and continue my weaving after I've been away for a while. It is far easier, however, to simply stay in the world and update the SB as I go. I get far more words written that way.
To wit: I've spent ten days at my cabin in two five-day stints in the last few weeks and have written over 12,000 new words on The Companion.
12K words? That's as much as some of my novellas (This one and this one and these)!
I moved the plot forward by leaps and bounds - and I killed two characters along the way. I've added description and figured out What Happens Next (because I'm a pantser, I don't always know this. I have a big, general synopsis that I wrote years ago, so I know the BIG pieces, but how these guys get from piece to piece? Yeah, they're telling me that as I go). Did I know both these characters were going to "bite the dust?" The first one, yes, the second, no. But it happened and now the protagonists have to deal with it.
BTW, if you want to read two brief excerpts, you can go here. The painting on that page is one I have hanging next to my desk and believe me, I look at it often in my descriptions of the Stone Mountains.
I'll leave you with this earworm... Play safe!