And Now I Know
Enduring The First Read
The worst thing ever?
Take something that matters. Maybe I had no chance at influencing events, reduced to hoping they would draw my name from a hat. Or I tried something, but I didn’t do as well as I should have, like that science project. Or…I devoted several months, pouring my heart out, using every trick I’d ever learned…like writing a story.
How I ached to fix that draft, almost as soon as I finished it. Instead, needing space to forget, I put it aside. Initially, I thought of nothing else. But, over time, it receded. Still, in odd moments, without warning, a cold hand squeezed my heart, and I couldn’t breathe. Had I improved it, or wasted my time?
Last week, the magic, miserable month ended, and I picked it up, remembering this wasn’t an ordinary first draft. You may recall that I wrote this story once before…and my Trusted Reader wasn’t impressed. After hating her for an hour or two, I replanned and rewrote it.
And I discovered something worse than not knowing.
Failing a second time.
My hands shook while I rapidly clicked the red pen, and turned to the first page, a prologue that hadn’t existed before. And, with the story line fuzzy, I read, seeking connections between the scene and things which happening further along. Alas, I found mud where I’d hoped for clarity and mystery.
Anxious, I pushed into the story’s still familiar first real scene, remembering things now on the cutting room floor. Then I tiptoed on into new scenes that, if refashioned, might work, amazed I had let such obvious errors escape the first time around.
And on I went, venturing out into brand new scenes. And, though they need work, I found myself swept away in an adventure that hadn’t existed in the original, shorter story. And, at times, I fell into the story and forgot to make comments. Reminded, I would flip back several pages and find things to red-line.
The question remains…did my rewrite work?
Not entirely. But no first draft does.
Story pacing seems right, meaning the story structure and story proportions are close. But the prologue, with its foreshadowing, needs help. And, though events leading to the climax flow naturally, I must heighten the tension and stakes, which means it’s fixable.
Overall, I’m happier with the MC’s arc, along with his best friend. But I’m concerned about his two women. In the first try, Michael fell for Mera at first sight, and Pesha had no chance. On this try, I managed to hold Mera off, but utterly missed any depth or complexity with his connection to Pesha. And I need to do that if he’s going to start committed to Pesha, then, over eight stories, slowly and reluctantly turn to Mera. I grieve for poor Pesha already.
Next time — making a plan to fix all this.