Know your Destination

I’m back on task with rewriting the first timeline from my NaNoWriMo novel, which means I need a strategy. While the first push of words for a new opening happened last week, the overall idea that formed the based of timeline 1 has been rolling around in my mind.

A little noisily, too.

It’s somehow still got that push that comes with a brand new idea, but the familiarity of an older project. It isn’t really that old either, having been a concept for only two months, and this particular implementation being so for even less. The basic idea of the main character’s progression has remained the same, but there’s always little touches that change. I know that the MC starts in one place, meets the core secondary character, and progresses on to meet a third. I know what happens to the MC at the end.

The weight behind that ending has changed through the course of some strategic editing around the story itself, but the ‘what’ of the story is still the same. It’s the ‘how’ that’s changed.

Whenever I write, even if I don’t know the exact sequence of events that will occur in the story’s conclusion, I try to have at least one idea about how it could play out. At worst, it’s there as a backup. Even better, a new ending presents itself. Something adds to the original, making it either a false ending, or a bigger one. That’s what’s happened here – the ending feels a lot bigger.

It has meant that some of the bits I’d already written (and yes, there’s not that many of them yet) had to change. I tore back a few pages to where I felt the writing was strongest, and began again. There were some sections  in those pages that could be salvaged, but most of it had to change, because the characters themselves changed. I’d say the MC is the same overall, but I’m still feeling out where he’s going.

Sometimes it’s needed. I’m lucky that the pages I was removing still had bits that worked in the flow. Sometimes that mightn’t happen.

I think the story is stronger for what I’ve changed, not just because the destination is better, but because the pages I removed were also ones that I wasn’t 100% happy with. Not like the parts preceding. I know that editing would probably fix that up, but the tone had started to waver, and that’s never a great thing. It’s okay to not always be moving toward your destination in your writing, but the narrative needs to stay strong. If a part isn’t working, then sometimes you need to tear it down and change your approach.

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