On being right

I started the rewrite of “Zydeco Queen” last night.

One of the things I can say about my writing is that it’s powerful. I don’t feel that while I’m writing it. But afterward, I can come back, and I can see the energy. I know it’s dynamic.

Unfortunately, there’s almost none of that power in this draft of “Zydeco Queen.” I was afraid that was the case, and this is one of those time when I hate being right.

After I read the first scene of the first chapter I got up and walked away for a while. I couldn’t see a way to fix that scene.

Fortunately, after I ate dinner and did some other things, I was able to make myself go back and read the second scene. It needed a heavy edit (which I was able to do) but at least I can use it. Ditto for the third scene, though it really should be the fourth scene, there’s at least one, maybe two or three scenes missing.

The start of the existing fourth scene is so awful it needs to be completely chucked and redrafted from scratch. I don’t know what I need to do instead. I’ll figure it out when I get there. The end of the fourth scene needs to be its own, separate scene.

And so on.

This morning while I was in the shower (because of course that’s when these ideas generally show up) I figured out what was wrong with the first scene. The event is almost correct, not quite, and the people involved in the scene are not the right ones. Now I know what the event should be, who needs be there, and not only what should happen, but the emotional tone that must set.

So the good news is I can fix this novel. It will require heavy edits in some places and complete redrafts in others, and I have less fear of killing what little voice that currently exists. I’m really hoping that from chapter ten on, I won’t have to do as much work as I will in the first chapters.

The bad news is that it’s going to be a tremendous amount of work. While I’ve been doing some writing during the month of January, I really was taking it easy. (For me. I realize that for some people, writing two short stories, putting together a collection, formatting two books for PoD, etc. seems like a lot. Really it isn’t.)

This isn’t actually bad news, BTW. It just means that every spare minute for the next 4-6 weeks is going to be spent writing. I’m going to be as busy as I was last year doing the Baker’s Dozen challenge.

I should really do another post on the benefits I continue to see from doing that thirteen week challenge. Because I continue to stumble across benefits that I hadn’t thought about when I’d started. I will do another short story challenge like that — I don’t know if it’ll be this year or next year.

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