It's been an interesting two days. Yesterday I realized that I had written myself into a corner. I got so excited about the story I was on that I ignored my instinct of where it should go, and instead forced it where I wanted it to go.
And, surprise!, it didn't work. I'd had this inkling that things were not working for two or three days now, but I ignored it. I knew where I was going; surely I was on the right road.
But, no. My train was completely derailed and headed for Louisiana when I intended to go to New York City.
I've seen this before. And not just in my work. (Though certainly I've seen it in my work.:)) You try to force the plot, pacing, whatever. Now, rough patches happen, and that's not what I'm talking about. Those can be cleaned up with a good heavy edit. I'm talking about writing cancer. The kind that you simply have to go in an cut out or it will poison your whole story . . . come to think of it, that's really is a good metaphor, because that's just what you have to do. You have to cut.
You have to back up to wherever you got derailed, and start over. And then, on top of that, you have to go the right way. You have to avoid that right turn that looked so perfect at the time and stay true to your course.
That's where I'm sitting now. 20,000 words in, and I had to go back to 10,000 words, cut, and start that part all over again.
And it's really hard. That 10,000 words represents a lot of hours and thought. And there are some darn good scenes in there. Some of them I will be able to rescue later (just minor pacing issues--too much too soon) but some of them . . . most of them . . . will just be lost.
But you know what? I'm not going to end up in Louisiana.
And that's worth it.
And I can hardly complain. I got those 20,000 words in 6 days of furious writing on an idea that won't quit. I can't expect all of those hasty words to make the cut. But some of them will. Probably 12-14,000 of them.
But 6-8,000 words are something I just have to let go of and chalk up to experience.
Tonight I am going back to the place where I cut to and starting that journey afresh. You can wish me luck, but what I really need is simply the ability to see where I got off track and avoid it this time. And if hindsight is 20/20 as they say, I've got a clear view all the way up the track.
See you in New York City.