Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bridges, charming roads, and hell

So, I’m working on revising sections of my story. Technically, I’m revising the bones of my outline. I haven’t even begun to tackle the deletions I know are coming in the actual scenes. And while, I’ve written some new material (a much better opening scene), I still have a long way to go in revision hell.

I’ve thought maybe I should call it something else, that perhaps by referring to it as a hell, I’m somehow attracting negative energy to the process. Perhaps, I should view it as a heaven, and thereby, attract, sweet, positive, warm energy to the process.

However, any writer knows that revisions are not the heaven of writing. Heaven is the new idea. It’s the perfect scene, dialogue and all, that comes to you in the shower (for me) or in the middle of a run (for Alyson). It’s hitting the word count goal for the day, or better yet, going over and not even realizing how much you wrote until you come up for air. It’s knowing when the muses are handing up the good stuff. It’s stepping back for space and immediately being rewarded with the spark you needed. It’s finishing. (Not there yet, but I can see the tiny pinpoints of light).

Writer heaven isn’t major restructuring of your story. It isn’t realizing that your story was a little lean. It isn’t big revisions.

I wanted revising & revamping to be pleasant experiences.

They aren’t.

I read something yesterday, though, that I’ve been mulling over.

“Revision is not supposed to get you from point A to B in record time. Revision is supposed to stroll you down all those roads not taken. And sometimes it burns all the bridges on those charming roads, leaving you no way back, but the hard way back.”
(From a favorite of mine: The Pocket Muse Endless Inspiration: New Ideas for Writing by Monica Wood)

Cheery, eh?

Well, maybe not cheery, maybe not even encouraging, although I did take encouragement from those words last night.

After a long day, I sat staring at the walls (see yesterday’s post), contemplating a scene. It’s a scene I love. However, if I make some of the changes I’m considering, it would have less of a place. Nah … it might not have a place at all. Did I say that I really love this scene? So much of the rest of the book refers in some way back to that scene. Lose the scene, lose the …. I can’t say it. Don’t make me.

Anyway, I sat staring at the wall trying to come up with any way, any thing that worked so that I could use some of what I’ve already written. Could I use the scene but move it to later in the book? (A definite possibility) Could I add urgency and more meaning to the scene? (maybe) Could I add additional conflicts that make the scene more plausible? (Sure, but what would they be?)

Frustrated because the muses were sitting with their arms crossed, and because my husband had the TV up too loud (actually, I was probably just frustrated and sensitive), I shoved the chair back and went to take a shower.

I pulled out my “Passion” bath wash and turn the water up to “almost scorching” and let it beat the frustrated soreness from me. Mid-conditioning rinse, it hit me. A plausible idea. A much better idea than I’d previously had (anything being better than nothing). An idea that didn’t have any blazing holes at first glance.

I obviously should bath more often.

So, I hopped out, tangles still in hair and wrote up notes for the idea.

I didn’t even know that road was there, but the shower helped the muses clear the cobwebs and hand up an idea. A good one (I think). Maybe this new road will be a perfect path for where I’m going. But if not, there’s always the hard way back.

I don't want to take the hard way back, but just knowing there is a way .... well... that's something.