I wrote a scene yesterday. About 3,000 words, so right in my wheelhouse for a daily writing goal. In fact, I ended up allotting nearly all of my writing time yesterday to this one scene. There’s a lot going on. It contains a lot of necessary mood-setting for the story as a whole, as well as a bunch of information that the protagonist needs to move on with the plot. And it generally sets a tone for what will probably turn out to be a very important setting.
It’s also completely fucking wrong.
I figured that out shortly after I completed it. I just knew. And, also almost as soon as I finished it, I knew what the scene should have been. Really, the beginning and end points of the scene will be the same. The information passed on will be the same. But the method of conveying it will be different. Will involve a different character, which changes the tone considerably. Frankly, it’ll probably also make it a lot better.*
But I wasn’t pissed about the wasted time I spent on it yesterday, because I know by now that it wasn’t really wasted. Sometimes you have to get something out before you can see what’s wrong with it. Think of it like drawing: you can’t correct a picture that only exists in your head. It’s not real enough. But the second you get that fucker out onto a piece of paper, then you can see the places where it doesn’t work, where the limbs are bent wrong, where the proportions are off. And does that hand have six fingers? Ooh, boy, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
But by getting it out, you know what that work is. You’re not just floundering around in theword-mines, looking for a light. You’ve got a light, and it’s showed you something that’s kind of a mess, but at least you know what you’re dealing with now. And it’s a hell of a lot better than just wandering about in the dark.
*The question now is do I go back and rewrite that scene or leave it as it until I come back for a second pass at the book in general. It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in today. I may just leave a note for myself for later dictating the changes, and write the remainder of the manuscript as if they’d already been written. Or my CDO* might kick in and I might go back and redo it. But, either way, now I know.
**Like OCD, but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.**
***Old joke, I know. Couldn’t resist. Besides, I’m using all my creativity up on the novel. Cut me some slack.