I should never have trusted those elves.

When I first had the idea for Under the Hill, back when it was Away with the Faeries, it was going to be a 30K novella.  It was going to be a kind of lighthearted paranormal romance with some elves and ghosts and morris dancing.  It was going to feature a bloke who worked in a bank, and another bloke who had been in the RAF before he was shot down by a UFO.  And it was going to be a pretty plain m/m romance with some entertaining tomfoolery in the land of Faerie.

Then Chris decided he had a big mysterious secret.

Then Ben decided he had to have a bigger mysterious secret than Chris.

Then George, Chris’ old flame, turned up out of nowhere and said “I’m still alive, you know!  Also trapped in Elfland.  Help!”

Then Sumala turned up and said “yes, and there aren’t enough female characters, so I need a story!”

Then Oonagh, Queen of the elves, felt it was important to kidnap some people in order to explain to them why she was doing all this kidnapping of people.

There were incidents with a photocopier and well dressing, but that was OK because they had always been meant to be there.

But then Oonagh acquired a rival in the shape of Liadain, and suddenly the elves had politics.  And Chris got arrested for murder, Ben got brainwashed, George got put in suspended animation, and Sumala discovered that the elves are mobilizing for war…

And then I realized I didn’t really have a romance on my hands any more.

The damn thing keeps growing and growing and getting more complicated, and now it’s in the process of getting a spine transplant, because I can’t get all the elvish stuff into the story if it’s only a story about Ben and Chris and how they fall for each other.  It’s going to have to be a story about elves first, and a love story (love triangle?  love square?) afterwards.  But that means there needs to be something new to drive the plot.  A fantasy can’t stand up on its own if it’s built around the skeleton of a romance.  It would only end up being a deformed romance if it tried, and I can’t imagine a deformed romance doing anyone any good.

The worst thing is I’ve written 40K of it as a romance, and I don’t know how much of that will survive the transition into fantasy.  I keep going back to the drawing board with this one and re-plotting it.  I’ll be very glad when it fixes itself into one shape so I can start actually writing it again.  I feel as if I’m trying to run up a down escalator with this one at the moment.

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