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Today I’m going to scrap everything I wrote yesterday. I rarely do this. I can count on one hand the number of times in my career I’ve scrapped more than a paragraph or two. Maybe during final revisions, sure, but not while writing. I don’t draft. I never have. I write clean copy down to the sentence level because it’s just how my brain is wired. At the end of a writing day, I’m able to count my words because they’re net. I add and subtract throughout the day, going back to edit and reword and rework. I can’t move forward if something in the moment isn’t right because THAT MOMENT is the ONLY MOMENT that idea is alive.
But not only am I scrapping everything I wrote yesterday, I’m scrapping everything I’ve written on this idea so far. It’s not much so this isn’t terribly painful, ha. The problem is I revisited an old idea and what I’d been doing with it… eight (maybe?) years ago doesn’t work with what I want to do now. I’m using the characters and the world but the protagonist’s goal is completely different because she is completely different. She’s no longer a member of a military force but is an independent contractor, so to speak. The hero is pretty much the same but his story has also changed and for the better. There’s actually CONFLICT now where before there was not.
I’m horrible about conflict. I hate it in real life so tend to balk at putting it in my books. I never have BIG DRAMATIC black moments because I have a hard time pulling them off believably. I have an equally hard time buying into so many I read because they seem manufactured rather than growing out of who the characters are and what they want. I don’t like coincidences. Or conflict that can be solved with an honest adult conversation. Walt was always so good at helping me with this because he could propose a situation that actually made sense to me.
Last night, for example, I realized I was going to have to destroy something the hero had built and I just cringed at the idea of all that destruction. In fiction. Which is make-believe. So you see my problem, ha. But I’m going to do it because it works for this new story direction. I’m pretty excited about this story, in fact… sadly a bit more so than the one I’d decided to write this month. And this is where I diverge from more common writing sense: sticking with one project rather than hopping back and forth between several. That’s what I’ve been doing.
And I’m okay with that because I don’t have a contracted deadline with a publisher. I only have the deadline I’ve self-imposed for my five-year career plan, and that’s still in play. Hopping between stories means the word count will accumulate on several books and then all of a sudden they’ll be done and ready to release! Probably not the optimal way to manage a career but with all I’ve been through the last year, I’m lucky there are any words at all going on the page. I’m not going to mess with whatever muse is bringing them up from my basement.
Yeah. That’s what it looks like down there.