Fitting the pieces together…

I’ve heard from a couple of people in this situation, so in order to shed some light on the subject in a more public way, here is the deal:

Last year (almost exactly), I wrote 10,000 words on a science fiction story.  Then, all hell broke loose (again) and I had to set it aside. By the time I came back to it, things had stopped making sense.  I couldn’t get into the story anymore.  I had lost my train of thought.  Other projects attracted my attention, so I worked on those.

Now, it’s time to get back to this story and finish it.  Why throw out 10k words of a story that HAD a great idea to it, but that got lost somewhere along the way?  I read the story over, then I went over it and made some edits.  I still had no luck.  The thing was a mess.  The whole first half had important information in it, but didn’t seem to be going anywhere.  I started to feel extremely stuck.

Of course, I’m not the type to give up easily.  There was a good story in there, I knew it.  I should probably mention that this story was written completely by the seat of my pants.  Not something I will be doing again!  So how do I mine through 10k words, and get back on track?

I started by looking at my original idea again.  Why did I want to write this story?  What made this project so exciting to begin with?  I found the pivotal scene–the first scene that came to me, the scene that was a huge turning point in the story, and said, “This is it.  THIS is what I want people to think of when they think of this story.”  Then, I worked from there, and said, “Which scenes in this story are necessary to make this scene happen?”

That’s the point I’m at right now.  From here, I will cut the scenes that do not lead to the pivotal moment, making sure that every scene has its purpose and moves the story forward.  Then, hopefully, I will be able to tell the story I’ve been wanting to.

I’m not going to make micro-goals for this week.  I simply want to finish with a draft of this story by the  night of the 20th.  Then I will feel like I have earned my vacation!

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4 thoughts on “Fitting the pieces together…

  1. Great story of persistence. And I love the way you isolated what really mattered and are working from there. It is a good lesson for all writers. Hope you reach your goal!Peter

  2. THanks, Peter–I'm not always good at seeing the individual pieces of something I'm working on. The big picture sticks in my mind. If something isn't working, I often have no idea where to begin fixing it. I'm glad it's working out for me, and hopefully I can do this again the next time something is broken.Laurel-Rain–Yes, taking a break often gives you new perspective on the story, and helps you see possibilities. Good luck!

  3. I, too, have trunked projects that have a lost heart buried under the sprawl and cobwebs. I am always encouraged when I hear about others finding a way out of their own writing labyrinth – it makes me feel more optimistic about finding the way out of mine. Thanks for the ball of yarn.

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