After much soul-searching, the beginning of Shore Leave finally has been rewritten. Of course, it has caused all manner of problems for the story down the road, and there will be harder days than this ahead while I try to untangle everything, but it’s back in motion, and I honestly wondered if I’d ever get this beast back on the road.
Second (technically third) draft done - structurally, it’s fairly sound, needs some plot tweaking and a lot of careful reading. Next draft will be following input form actual readers, and I hope will involve more recrafting than just writing everything out from scratch.
Draft 2 is now up over 17,000 words. This is definite progress. I’ve now come to the crucial point, what Larry Brooks calls the First Plot Point (I think it should have capitals).
I want to write it today, but my brain is fried, and I’ll rush it and need to rewrite it. Which is kind of the point of the draft, I know, but I’ve been thinking about this point for weeks now, and I still don’t know what it will be like until I start writing it. Everything up to this point is pretty darned good, though I say so myself, although bits of this afternoon’s work are already rewriting themselves in my head.
So the answer is - stop now. Write the key scene as soon as I have sufficient time and mental energy, and go back out into the world, see what it looks like.
Maybe even reintroduce myself to all those people who also live in my house and see if I can help with dinner…
It’s been a solid afternoon’s work.
I’m 7500 words into draft 2, and…
And I’ve maybe reused about 200 from draft 1. Fixing up the structure has changed the story so dramatically that I’m basically starting from scratch. After an initial moment or two of despondency (“you mean I’m going to have to write it all out again?”), I’m actually really happy with the way it’s going. All that foreshadowing I was going to have to bodge in to the start because the ending has changed is now seamlessly in place. Also, I’m doing some intriguing things with tense and voice which I think are going to work - and won’t be too hard to fix if they don’t work.
Not worrying about detail, just blasting through getting it all down on paper again. Then, I’ll start the second second draft (it makes sense to me)
Anyway, your sneak preview consists of one line:
“Dr. Goldman introduced David to the idea of being worried, and he thinks he understands it – it is what happens to him when he does not know what will happen in the future.”
What - me worry?
So, yesterday I sat down and began to apply all that I’ve learned in the last few weeks to what is still, at the moment, called Shore Leave. Here’s what I know now:
It’s going to be a radically different story to the one I envisaged. In draft 1, some stuff happens, but not enough of it, and various things don’t happen which need to.
I finally figured out the biggest problem, which is that while the relationship between Character 1 and Character 2 remains opaque to them, it is clear to the reader. The reader needs to be as confused as everyone else, so they want to find out.
It read more like a memoir than anything else. It needs to read like a novel.
There is at least four chapters’ worth of stuff - really good stuff - in a two-page afterthought written as a letter, which I shoehorned in to the end as a kind of deus ex machina. To be fair, I did know this already; it was something I hadn’t even thought of when I began to write the first draft, but it’s now vividly clear to me what needs to happen with it.
And finally, I need to get going with it. So many ideas in my head now…
Amazing how much more writing was getting done when the internet was down!
Question: how do I keep myself from overdoing the research? I had a quick question about a character’s job which has turned into some detailed reading on WW2 shipyards….
I have classical music on one screen (currently listening to Gabriel Prokiofiev’s Violin Concerto) and on the other one, I’m busy setting things up and figuring out how to attack the second draft. Following #WDNWC14 it’s going to be significantly different to draft 1 - probably the thing to do is just get on with it, but I have new toys to play with…