Bits and pieces
I’ve been busy with the structural rework of my WIP, Finnegans Deciphered, in recent weeks. I mentioned before how I decided that my cost-conscious protagonists needed to reduce their time at the bed and breakfast where they are staying over the course of the story, and that has necessitated some changes in the narrative. Events must happen in a proper sequence in the plot, and this bit of rebuilding has meant finding new ways to maintain that sequence.
But there are other things. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t have some revelation about the novel. A can’t happen before B happens, so I need to get B in place. Does he knows C at D point in the story? Have I prepared the reader for that? Am I giving too much away too early? I have ideas about how I might smarten up a bit of dialogue or sharpen up the description of a scene or character.
It’s all useful stuff, and I’m busy wedging it into the plot. Later I’ll give it a comprehensive read through and look for places where the seams are showing. I don’t think these are the kinds of things that I could have foreseen had I written a more elaborate outline of the plot (most of my outlining happens in my head, supplemented with a file of notes many thousands of words long). I’m in the second round of discovery in the writing process, which is fine and is, apparently, my process.
In the meantime, snippets of ideas for other stories and novels continue to present themselves to me, and I note them down duly. One or another of these other projects is likely to achieve critical mass soon, and I’ll know what the next big thing is I’ll need to work on. I’m even having some fresh thoughts about a novel I abandoned twenty years ago. That may get a breath of life yet. I’m grateful for all of it; the ferment is part of what it means to be a writer, I guess.
Curiously, I have not a bit of this happening with my finished novel The Sleep of Reason. I think (hope) I am completely done writing that one. In the last year, I’ve gone back to it only once, and then merely to change one word. It’s an important change; it not only adds to the fundamental mythos of the story, but it provides a critical bit of misdirection early on. What bothers me about this kind of late revelation is that there may be more like it that I’m not seeing. That one-word change I made is hugely obvious in retrospect, and had I not included it, I suspect some keen reader or disappointed editor would have pointed it out. And I would have felt terrible for missing it.
I worry about this kind of tunnel vision a lot. I get so focused on the story I want to tell that I miss the rest of the story that I don’t know also needs telling.
But I press on regardless.