The one thing that has stunned me about writing is the evolution of the story through drafts. When I first started writing I had this idea that one should just have a decent outline then tell the story. My first few attempts were so boring that I quickly realized that I needed much more than just a good outline and an idea.
Yesterday’s first chapter for instance (see here). When I first wrote that the main part of the action took place in an office. BLECH! Who wants to read about an office? I’ve changed it twice now and I now I have it in a tunnel. Will probably change it again.
I think the most amazing part of novel writing is going back and reading my first drafts and seeing how much they’ve changed. The entire story is different than when I first started all of my novels. Sadly, it’s this change, navigating through the change, finding it, making it fun to read and believable, that’s all the hard part of writing. Truthfully it’s impossible to convey unless one has actually done it.
This current story that I’m working on, Sunset Perfect. I have a good idea of who most of the characters are and I have a decent idea about the plot. The problem is that all of the secondary characters, all of the people who interact with the main characters, the ones that make the story more believable, those are the ones that are in a state of flux right now. It’s a hard slog right now, but I know that eventually I’ll land on the right combination and it will all work out. Sometimes I feel like I’m a chemist trying to find that solution in order to get to that Eureka moment. How much Hydrogen? How much Sulphur? Too much and you may get something toxic.
Right now this story is a bit of an homage to Anthony (see here). That little guy had a huge impact on me and I feel like I’ve failed him horribly in his life. I know that if I break it down it we weren’t the ones who failed him, the state and the bureaucracy did, but still the feeling is there. The sad part is that Anthony, the character in this novel, is a bit of a bore. There isn’t much there. He may not make the final cut. The difficulty is that I need him to be boring and a bit of a minor character for the plot to make sense. Still the character needs some refreshing if he’s going to make it through to the end.
Perhaps I should have titled this post, “Steer Clear of Writing an Homage!”