Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Couldn't Help It!

Though, truth be told, I didn't try either.

Last time, I mentioned I was wondering if I was staring at wound to my book. It caused reflection and angst and inner turmoil; it probably sprouted a few gray hairs and made me lose an hour of sleep...give or take 5 minutes.

I joke only because as soon as considering the issue, I decided that, yes, it was an issue.

And I almost immediately decided to restart.

Blast and damnation--but amazingly enough, I began to consider and reconsider some different possibilities. Things I thought very important when I wrote them (or potentially conceived them well before they were ever put to "paper") turned out to not be so important after all.

Had I evolved as a writer since I first had these notions? Or had the book, being a mutable, seemingly living creature just developed in ways I had not anticipated, ways lent to these things no longer being so important to the story? Perhaps I had just missed that things could be cut out without drastically altering the story?

Funnily enough, this came about when I was running my synopsis through the grinder over and over again (a process I still detest, by the way); one of the later versions was a pretty sweet 1 page dealio, and in reading it, I thought. "Man, that's pretty good. If only that actually described what I wrote."

Of course, that thought led to another: "Maybe that should describe what you wrote. Maybe what you wrote is the problem here. Maybe things are so difficult to sum up in 1 page because you made them too convoluted in the plot."

To quote Poe (the singer, I mean): What a terrible thought.  And to continue my slaughter of brevity:

I must stay calm you know and I must be clear
It's gonna take a hundred thoughts to make this one disappear
A train like that could travel a soul for years
A terrible thought could have a terribly long career

-Poe, "Terrible Thought" off the album Haunted (which is the CD accompaniment to the very excellent and strange book House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski, Poe's brother)

So my hundred thoughts to make that first terrible thought disappear? Yeah, those are now called Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3. Even if I end up not using them, it's been a fun exercise. They need a lot more polishing and refinement before I am willing to say that these will replace the previous version...but that's the way I see it going.

is haunted by the hallways in this tiny room, the echos there of me and you: the voices that are carrying this tune.


Heather Hellmann said...

I went through something similar with my current manuscript. I ended up deleting my entire first chapter and starting over because I could tell it wasn't working. I'm glad I made that decision.

Wes said...

Glad it worked out for you! When did you know it was the right choice? To me, even now without it being done, it feels like I'm making the right call.