Paying the Price

Okay, I took a diversion.

After thinking through the plot structure of a new story, and after noting I was working through a novel, I happened across an draft of an old story that I had put away for some time because I was unhappy with its middle. And its end.

But the beginning has always been among my favorite pieces of my own writing.

I scanned through it, and was struck again at that beginning.

So I dug into it last week and tried to understand why it wasn’t working for me. Now, don’t worry, this isn’t a total “Shazam!” moment in the works, but I admit that by the end of the week I had decided exactly why the story fell flat for me.

So I changed that.

Which then made other parts obsolete.

So I changed them, too.

It still didn’t totally work for me, but I could see a glimmer coming about, so I added a new scene, which I later removed but which gave me a greater understanding of the relationship between two of the primary characters.

Over the weekend I got to where I thought everything but the last thousand words were about right. Then yesterday at lunch I ripped into them and this morning I took that work and redid the end.

I think it works.

No shazam. Just exploratory thinking and hard work. But I think it’s there, and I think it’s what I’ve always needed to say with this piece. I think the original problem was that I hadn’t mined the soul of the story, and I think it’s now exposed. We shall see.

It’s always dangerous to speak of a story like this at this stage of development because who the hell am I to say how good or bad something is? I’m just the writer. I’ve probably spent 250,000 words on this one story that’s now sitting at 9,400 words long (have I mentioned that I seem pathologically incapable of creating anything under novelette-length these days?). Perhaps the tale will crash and burn and be buried under an avalanche of rejection. Dunno.

I’m not joking about that quarter-million words, either.

But that’s okay.

This morning I’m feeling pretty good about the learning I’ve had over the past week, and in the end that alone is worth the price I’ve paid for this one.

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Posted in Daily Writing, Short Stories.

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