“It’s alive! It’s alive!”
The wonders a re-write in the right frame of mind can do. Last week I posted a little story about concerns I had with my climax in the novel. I had come up to my final act and have a mere four or five chapters to go. I had finished chapters 14, 15 and had started on 16 before figuring out very quickly that something was wrong. It just didn’t feel alive or meaningful like previous chapters had been, with little character moments and more a slow trudge to the next plot point.
I never believed writing was as simple as point A to B. Point A to B is but the pieces of bread for a sandwich. It’s what’s between the slices that makes a piece work.
After putting the manuscript down for a few days, I began a mission. I was going to fix this climax and fix it good. I sat down and jotted out some ideas, discarded plenty of bad ones, and took to the keyboard to tear it up like a trip to the disco floor.
The writing process took many hours. I just about sucked up an entire day. Scratch that. I did suck up an entire day. I must have cut 1000 words out of the chapter, replacing them with about 3000 better ones. Upon completing the chapter at 7pm, I knew it was finished.
Okay, not finished finished. There is still that later tweaking edit that will come after the manuscript has been set down for a few weeks. But still, it is so much more alive. It moves with a purpose, there are more of those little moments, and it really feels like a massive, unpleasant journey for the main hero, who after a physical altercation with one of the villains, isn’t exactly in the best of conditions.
So Chapter 14 has become like one of those stupid slasher villains. You know? The ones that they shoot, chop up, blow up, grind up, drop in acid, mail all their pieces to different parts of the world that still keep coming back for like 10 movies? I suppose that’s what this book has been. Just when I think it is dead and I should give it up, it manages to pull off a miracle. It pulled off a big one last night, and now now of my two finished chapters is fixed. One more chapter to spruce up and then I’ll be going through chapter 16 to figure out what precisely will be going on there.
So after a late night of work in the lab with Igor, we have made this corpse of a chapter into something living. It may not be the best chapter in the book and could still use some tightening, but it is now worthy to be counted amongst the earlier chapters.
We are now up to 338 pages of good solid material and have, let me see, at least three chapters to go, but it may end up being four. I’m excited.