Good writers know when their story is finished. We don’t question it; we just instinctively know “This is where to stop.” and often times, we’re satisfied with that. What do you do when your story is still being told and you’re magnetically pulled to keep on writing?
I’m ass deep in alligators on this rewrite. Like an onion, this story has so many deeper layers I have yet to unravel. Today, interesting things were developed. I then saved the file and decided to do a read-through. I cut, I added, I cut some more, and then additional development began. All I could do was type, because in that moment I thought “These poor characters. They’re so desperately trying to know who they are, what their role is in each other’s lives, how to stay focused, how to move forward.”, etc. It was kind of heartbreaking for me.
Initially when these characters popped into my head, I thought this would be an easy write and a very easy read; the kind that is easy to relate to. But then I realized I’d fallen into a trap of creating a character that made a choice out of avoidance. She spent the majority of the story avoiding huge issues when she didn’t need to do any of it.
At the time, a key line from her was “I stopped thinking up ways to tell him.” She was so committed to moving forward and being a strong woman, that she made a grave mistake, and would later realize how painful that mistake would be for her. She spent a lot of time arguing with a doctor, as well, one who was trying to help her, but was bound by patient confidentiality.
I allowed that to play out until the novel reached a crucial point. I loved what I’d written, but I also thought “What if I went in a different direction?” And so, I started from scratch with just a few key chapters to work with.
This current rewrite is the new direction. I don’t know if it’s better or worse, I just know that the storytelling is fair. It’s over 520 pages, and it continues to grow. I know I need to focus less on the page and word count, and focus more on the actual story, but as a writer of substance, I am trying to keep all of it in mind because I’ve already edited out about 200 pages, if not more. And here’s a simple fact; this story will eventually be whittled down to the bare minimum. That’s a given in the story-telling process. You want a clean manuscript, but you also want all of the key points in the final product.
So I sit here with a steaming cup of Earl Grey, with real sugar and cream, and I ponder my direction.
In many ways, this story is parallel to something I am currently going through. It’s a “Do I or don’t I?” story. Do I take this chance? Do I take this risk? What if? There are only three things lacking for me in my decision-making process, because after all, fiction is fiction and it gives you the opportunity to play. Believe me, I wish I had the problems these characters have. I have some of them, just not all of them.
I’ve decided to prepare this manuscript for a few contests coming up. I want to challenge myself and allow it to be read by people who can’t offend me. I’m my own worst critic; so the worst a stranger can say is nowhere near as harsh as I am with myself. It’s simple; you’ll either like it or you won’t. Hell, someone might even love it.
I didn’t really consider the ramifications of taking on a genre that is so well-established and timeless. I just wanted to write something out of my system so I’d stop having dreams about it every night. The dreams have stopped, but the story has not.
I will know when the story is done. I will. For now, I just have to keep writing. I’m either really angry or trying to get shit done when I break out the red mug. The grey mug is so much more soothing, but tonight, it’s red.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.