So, I’ve written a first draft that’s as useless as tits on a bull.
Regular readers might recall that I’ve been editing a novel that I finished the initial draft of last spring. It has prompted several posts so far, including the Seven Stages of Writing Projects. That ended on an optimistic note. I’ve been chipping away at this for the last few weeks, but I could tell something wasn’t right. It was good, but there was no spark to it. No life. Something was missing.
And then, the other day, when I was making myself take a day off from running and playing on the swing set near the track while watching The Husband and Krys run, I figured it out.
It was set in the wrong place.
This might seem like a small change, but this is a very small novel, spatially speaking. Almost all of it takes place within the confines of a small apartment. If it was a play, you wouldn’t need scene shifters. Personally, I like the intimate approach with horror, but this was starting to get claustrophobic.
But moving the location, from the main character’s apartment to the house he grew up in, changes things. It creates so many more possibilities. It changes the whole tone of the book. Frankly, it’s too good a change not to make. This is epic level Plot Spackle, the kind that not only fixes the hole but turns it into a fresco depicting the creation of the universe and the nature of the gods.
But it means I’ll have to rewrite. Big time.
Almost. The. Entire. Manuscript.
100,000 words. Very little of which I’ll be able to use, except for some dialogue.
It’s like I just hit reset on the universe of this book after forgetting to save. All the way back to the beginning. Lost all my equipment.
And I’m okay with it.*
Here’s the way I’m choosing to look at this: that first draft? That was a zero draft in every sense of the word. In fact, it’s best to think of it as a really long, really detailed outline. After all, the characters are the same. A lot of the events are the same. And now I have a much better handle on those characters and events than I did last year.
So this will be a piece of cake, right?
…That sound you just heard? That was my brain screaming.
*You know, now I’m okay with it. There’s a reason I didn’t write this post two weeks ago when I had this realization. No one wants to read me typing “FFFUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKK” five hundred times.