So I’ve been busy writing lately, which is an excellent thing. I’m working on one story in particular where I wrote a scene in first-person a few weeks ago and then came to what felt like a dead end, so I stopped. I considered chucking it, which actually means saving it on my computer where it waits around, hoping to be noticed again when I open the folder. I didn’t really want to chuck it, but I kept rereading the scene and realizing that it needed too much back story for it to work, for it to have any emotional impact. And to weave in that much back story in exposition would look false and slow down the action too much.
So, I did a brand-new thing with my story, something I’m usually too afraid and/or lazy to do: I backed away and just thought about the character. I started a brand-new Word document and started writing to the main character, which created sentences like “You don’t want what everyone else wants and has.” I tried, as much as possible, to not worry about the quality of the writing because I was writing in second-person and knew that I wouldn’t be doing that for the actual story. I let myself be as repetitive as I liked, helping me to come at the complicated issues from several different angles. It was completely liberating to write to the character and gave me a strong sense of control since I could tell her exactly what she was like, and of course, she couldn’t argue with me.
And then, (yes, it gets better) I did something else I’ve never done before: I opened another Word document and started fresh with an entirely new series of scenes that came the day before the original one. I now knew where my main character worked, what she wanted, what she loved, and who her family was (which was important since most of the story would happen on Thanksgiving day with her family). So I basically wrote up to the original scene, switched around the tenses and the POV and integrated it!
Of course, now I still have to finish it. But instead of being stuck at 1,061 words in the original scene, I now have 4,503 words!! And of course, it doesn’t mean any of what I’ve written is good and/or will stick around, but it’s at least a heck of a lot better than the original scene and is actually going somewhere now!
I’ve just always resisted going back and rewriting or adding to the beginning of a story. I almost always stick with whatever I wrote down the first time I sat down to write the story, which means that if it’s not working, if the piece really needs a new beginning, I often don’t give it one. And I’ve never gone back and added this much! So it’s exciting! We’ll see if it pays off!
(Oh, and gas here is now only $2.92! Hooray!)