The last time, it was the ravens. Every time they showed up in The Novel Formerly Known as Linger, everything went sideways. The problem was, they were important. Really important. On the level of theme, and symbol, and plot. So I couldn't just slice through the Gordian (Corvian? (sorry)) knot with my pen and cut them out of the manuscript.
The thing was, it wasn't really the ravens (collective noun: unkindness) that were the problem. No, it was the places in the book where the ravens (collective noun: storytelling) were showing up. Those were the tricky bits, the places where things started to fall apart, or come together. Places where the center of the story had to hold.
I needed one draft, and one very significant rewrite before I knew what the center was. Once I did, I stopped being haunted by ravens. (collective noun: murder).
This time, it's the Wild Hunt. (I am aware that at this point, those of you well grounded in Celtic mythology, are rolling your eyes, and thinking, well, Kat, what else did you expect, putting such things in your books.) The first time they showed up, I wound up slashing 5K words, and then writing about three times that amount, putting off bringing them back on stage. I've done some fairly unfortunate things to my pov, trying to come up with a way around needing them. (This might be easier if I didn't think the Gabriel Ratchets were just about the cutest things ever, and kind of want one.)
But the Hunt is riding, and I can feel the story running ahead of me, hear its laughter on the storm. I am trying to hang on, and praying I'm not its quarry.