First, let me tell you a quick story:
One day, in the middle of 11th grade Spanish class, a friend told me a fun word fact. I thought about this fun fact for the rest of the day and realized I felt quite smart. As I got older, I wanted this word to pop up at pub trivia nights so I could pluck this otherwise useless piece of knowledge from my brain and impress my friends.
Years passed and this fact remained stuck in my head until one day I came up with a story. But how could I tie all these pieces together? Ah ha! Eureka!
I went to work crafting riddles for my MC to solve before he could get the next clue. And at the crux of my very first riddle--the riddle that put everything into place and pulled it all together at the end--was the fun word fact floating in my head since high school.
My readers were stumped until I revealed the answer. They loved the riddle and never thought twice about the logic.
Fast forward another year and I'm back at the story, working on world building and character motivations. There's a lot of work ahead, but it's manageable.
That one shiny factoid is wrong. Incredibly wrong. So wrong that it was never right in the first place.
Back to the drawing board I go. I'm not trashing the story, but it sucks when you realize you have to go back deeper than you had hoped. I spent a good portion of the weekend feeling frustrated and simply overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of me. But it's kind of like untangling a ball of yarn--I need to sit down and spend some time carefully following each thread of an idea and see where they all lead.
How about you... how do you manage setbacks like this? Have you ever felt like the bottom dropped out of your story?
* = (I'm reading Kiersten White's Supernaturally right now and trying to swear less. Win/win.)