Some time ago, I started a story and it seemed to be going really well, but when I reread it, a voice in my head started yelling, “NO! NO! NO!”
I took some time to consider it, and thought I’d figured out the problem and I came up with a solution. I kept the first scene, where the hero and the heroine first meet, but I dramatically changed what happened next, and I was getting somewhere.
Then life, and other stories, got in the way, and it was a while before I opened this version again, so I started by rereading it. And again, the voice was yelling at me. Then it dawned on me, the voice starts yelling when I’m on the first wonderful scene that I slaved so hard over to get it just right. The scene I spent hours writing, rewriting, and tweaking.
So what was the problem?
Simple, I had them meeting on the first day of school. At the time, I thought the hero meeting the heroine before he learns she needs help would be best, but when I thought about it that was kind of dumb. If a person were inclined to help someone out when they need it most, they’d do it whether they actually knew the person or not.
And the other issue was the premise of the story. It just didn’t seem possible for them to accomplish that task starting in the fall and ending before winter. A fact I had considered in my second version; among my dramatic changes, I had it that he started fixing up the place where most of the story takes place over the summer; they would just finish it together. But even then, they didn’t have enough time, because he hadn’t been planning to finish before winter. Until she came along, he didn’t need to.
So I needed to start from scratch. Well, not completely. I did have the character list, the backstory, and a few pieces of the other versions I could reuse with a little tweaking. But with scrapping that first scene, and changing the time of year of they meet, I was starting with a blank page.
And I started writing — twenty-one pages that first day. WOW!
Additionally I had just over 35,000 words seven days later, as in nearly half a novel in just a week. Can you believe it? And while I haven’t achieved that word average this week, I’m still moving along.
Of course, that isn’t to say that this will be the final version. I have over a dozen versions of at least one of my finished manuscripts, most I have between four and six versions. But I rewrite all the time, and then the editing starts making more versions, all saved in the same file.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.
Happy writing everyone! J