Tell me it gets easier after the first one. Tell me that after the months of uphill slogging, the view will be spectacular and that it is all downhill from here.
I’m working my way through the 4th outline of Dangerous. I’m going to change some basic elements of the story. I’ve been reading a great deal now that I’m free and lately one common element of books bugs me. I get a little annoyed at a story when there is a secret power or society or special character who knows a great deal and pulls the strings behind the scenes too much. It can be done well, but is done so often that it stands out to me as a glaring conceit. Wrapping everything up neatly due to someone coming in and waving some sort of magic wand is too nice, too tidy. Human situations rarely resolve tidily.
I’m guilty of this. In my first draft there is a secret society that seems to only exist to wrap things up easily and provide loose and convenient motivation for the characters to be together. It reads more like a one shot RPG session than a tightly plotted story. The first couple of outline rewrites moved the society first into a more prominent role with more of a back story, and then the latest has them more understated. The new rewrite? Well, I’m going to get them out of the story entirely. Instead I plan to make some of the characters actually a part of their own group, doing exactly what the idea was for the secret group, only now with a lot more at stake because they’re really more like a sleeper cell of societal activists than just a few criminals who got hired by the right (wrong?) people. This is going to require a lot of intricate introduction and plotting.
I’m starting to both hate and love this novel. I feel like this rewrite will make it something real, a creature I’m proud to have given form instead of a misshapen foundling. I’m not sure how feasible my goal of having a draft down by the end of September really is, however. I’m not only revamping the plot, I’m changing how the city works, how people get around, what they eat, everything. It’s going to barely resemble draft 1. Which is terrifying.
It’s like the first time you run a whole mile. You feel wonderful. Then you realize that you “ran” that mile at a pace most people walk it. Not only that, but you are sore and tired now. And you still have to get up and run it again. And again.
I don’t want to believe that. I want lies. Filthy wonderful lies. I want to write a novel and have that be the end of things, not the beginning. I wrote this, here, take it. I want to run a 3 minute mile without any training. Without pain.
Well, maybe not. But, I’d like to believe in the possibility of it.
Which is probably why I’m a writer and not a runner.