Sometimes it’s the name.
Last post had me complaining, talking about self-doubt, and general obstacles encountered with the rewrite of this strange beast of a novel I’m working on.
“I feel like part of it could be the names. Characters. I keep seeing their names, know their actions, and just know too much about what’s in the scene.”
That’s what he said. He being I. The other thing I mentioned, the different versions of the scene were blending together (though it felt more like bleeding through into one another). I still need the scene, but it didn’t need to be the opener.
When I first started on Trail, a few ticks after midnight on November 1st, 2010… I was stuck. Almost immediately, I was stuck. I hated where the story began, wrote in my little nano-diary that I’d go to in the future to remind me that my mood alternates when I’m writing for NaNoWriMo. The very first day had writing happen in the first hour, in the morning at six, at lunchtime, and then after work. There were progressive updates and changes in mood, from “Why did I think I should do this? Or could? I hate everything I’ve written.” to “Okay, it’s tolerable.” and finally “Hmm, this is going somewhere. I… I think I like it!”
I didn’t get through that scene I hated by accident. I actually had a completely different opener to begin with, as the false-starts on the scene didn’t work. Cause they were false starts. I had a little side-story that would run alongside the main action, though I didn’t really know what the deal with it was when I first threw it in.
And now for the point.
I’ve changed the name of one of the characters. I’ve changed the opening scene. I haven’t just rewritten it, or clarified it. It’s moved. All the different versions had a definite sameness about them, and after showing them to another writer, it became clear that they were a) good, b) very similar and c) still not what *I* wanted even though they were objectively fine.
The original opening started somewhere where the location was important. It was a player. It was also a scene-stealer. The character in the scene, even more important. The scene was just too big, and I mean that in terms of size, not scope. It took place in a wide-open area, and for a scene to establish who the character was… it stole too much attention. It took moving away from it to realise that.
The first scene is now in a smaller place, and has both of the main characters present (instead of just the one). The place itself is merely a stage now, and once again it comes back to being about the characters, not a character and the world.
So, there it is. Progress.