Well, this week I was more productive than I thought I’d be. I was able to rewrite out a new scene. Then while I was talking to a friend on Facebook just chatting away an idea came to me that might help to enhance the scene even better. But then a question came to my mind. “Is it worth all the effort to try and write the scene in the new way or take the easy route and just leave it be?”
Well, I think our gut instinct, if we are honest with ourselves, is to take the easy way as it’s just that: easy. But that old saying, “Nothing in life comes easy.” This is too true. The things that matter most almost always are hard to do or get done. Yet, those tend to be the most rewarding. When we’ve done them we just feel good inside.
This couldn’t have been more true than with my novel that I’m currently writing. When I started writing it I was 100% green behind the ears. I had no clue what I was doing. Fiction techniques? What’s that? I had no idea what a passive voice was and that I could go back and forth between present and past tense. Telling? Again, was I doing that? But of course I was as I was the queen of telling. I kept being told once people started to read my writing that I need to show and don’t tell. But I thought I was showing. Boy did I have so much to learn.
So with my novel, I had it in my head that the story was about my main character Katalina, or Kat. I had other ideas that might have been good for the story which would have added more depth but that would have taken so much more work on my part so I decided against it. I told myself that it would detract from the main part of the story which was Kat’s journey have the tragedy and show she dealt with it. Why would I want to take away from that. So I wrote my first complete first draft. I felt good I had done it but something felt off. When my word count came in at only 50,000 words I didn’t understand. I knew I needed about 100,000 words yet I was off by half.
Then began the editing phase. I got to about chapter 10 and I just couldn’t motivate myself to edit anymore. So there sat my book starting to collect dust. I kept putting off my editing as I came up with every excuse I could as to why I could do it. I even tried to pick it back up a couple of times but got no where. So it sat and sat and sat.
Then I was on the phone with a very dear friend of mine, who also happened to be a writer, and we were talking. Somehow we got on the subject of my novel. And then we did more talking. Then it was like an epiphany hit me. All of a sudden I was drowning in ideas for my story. The romantic interest in my story went from where she met him for the first time in the hospital after her accident to now having known him before the accident. In fact, they used to be neighbors. And a twist in the story became even more twisty.
And then there was what I didn’t do before that would have taken way too much time and effort to do and that was to add what I talked about before. All of a sudden I knew I had to have this part. It was add depth to the story that was needed. This person and Kat could be there for each other. It would enhance the story better than I ever thought before.
So it boils down to how I should have gone with my instinct and just done it even if it would take more effort on my part. The effort would have been well worth it in the end. The great thing about me not doing it though is that the overall story is going to be better as a result. So I think of that first draft as a major learning experience. And now I’m undertaking a major rewriting of what I had before because now it will be so much better.