Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crowbars Aren't a Writer's Friend

The rewrites and edits on Madison have been going smoothly, wonderfully, even quickly. Until today. Today I got to a scene that had been shifted significantly, and it no longer worked. I edited one way. Stopped, switched directions. Stopped again and crowbarred it into place. Ick. Not pretty. The more I fussed, the more I realized that the scene plain didn't work. Not as it was. It was flawed in a major way, and it took moving it and reworking it a half dozen times to see it.

I stopped trying to write. I opened a fresh Word doc and stared freewriting. Freewriting for me is where I type everything that comes to mind, and lucky for me, my fingers can almost keep up with my thoughts.

It didn't take too long to realize the problem: the scene wasn't important enough any longer as it stood. I couldn't cut it completely, because it triggers a few key moments in this book and the next. Once I realized that, I pared the scene down to those events, then played the "what if" game. A few paragraphs of freewrite later, and I've got a different, better direction.

The new ideas are percolating. I haven't written anything yet. I need a moment to let it sink in, and luckily, I've the luxury of a little extra time. Tomorrow I'll know what, if anything, I can keep. Right now. I think at best I'll keep the general characteristics of the people in the scene, and that's about it. Not much to say for fifteen pages of text.

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