More on my NYAAAGH! (if you can stand it).

Okay, I thought I had better clarify the situation – No, I had not just written 26 pages, now gone Pffft – I had close to 150 pages, with another 300 or so in different working files – the removal of the 26 happened to rupture the remaining 130 in the main file, something I did not expect.

Most of that 130 is salvageable, by the way, it’s just that it doesn’t hang the same way. That means a restructure is called for at the very least, with some rewriting most likely needed, and not just the 26 pages.

I must admit, it caught me out. I did not expect that fixing a problem with one thread would so disrupt the rest of them. I’ve removed great chunks of what I thought was finished works before, without such dire results – it’s not like I’m a first-timer.

We have a joke here at home that has run for years. I so rewrote and rewrote the first book (during my hunt for a publishing house that turned out to be really my writer-training years), that whenever I say to Greg, my husband, “I’ve hit a snag,” his reply is inevitably, “Uh-oh! Start again!”

This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to that actually happening, and I tell you, it’s not fun. This book is supposed to be out there, published and available in July. I’m going to bend over backwards to make that happen, but it is also ONLY going to happen if the standard is as I expect and demand it to be. I haven’t come this far only to start losing readers because I’ve dropped the ball. I’m not going to drop the ball – I care too much about what I produce, about the series, and about the readers who value book 1 and book 2 and want more of the same quality.

Well, we’re all on the same team, because I want more of the same quality, too.

*

This exercise, while frustrating, has also made me realize the pace and balance that goes into choosing how segments of a story stand together. I knew I did that. Every writer does that. I’m just surprised how, even with the newer, faster stuff already going into place, how the other scenes just don’t fit around it anymore and how much they all relied on each other for support.

Yesterday, after the crash, I had a choice. Everything I had before was backed up and saved, of course, so I knew I could always put it all back and keep tinkering with what annoyed me. I didn’t want to do that, but the choice was there. I could restore and continue.

This morning, slaving over the never-really-blood-soaked keyboard, that choice evaporated. Seeing the new material go in and reworking an entirely new opening scene (yes, my “first-marker” dropped all the way back to page 1), I know I have made the correct decision and that the story will be much better and stronger for the changes I am making.

Had I known that those changes would spread and become the whole thing, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to rip it apart, not with only six months to go. I probably would have gone ahead with it – I’m a bite-the-bullet kind of person – but it would have scared me to do so.

This way, it just landed as a shock, and all that’s left after that is recovery.

Never mind. I’ve still got the various running plots. I’ve got a stack of 130 or so really good pages. I like jigsaw puzzles. I’ve got exciting new stuff – and this might be the fastest rewrite in my entire life.

So… On with it then. Cheers!

🙂

Allyson

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