Friday, July 22, 2011

Starting Over - Again

I've started my novel over. From the beginning. When I wrote my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, I did it in true NaNo style. That is, fast, and without a lot of deep thought. I had an idea about the sort of story I was trying to tell, so I didn't try to outline or do much planning. You see, Id actually written this same story once before - back in 2005 when I first started writing again. Then it was a 7000 word short story. It was dreadful. The first helpful review I got was from a fellow called Bob over at Writing.com who explained this writing idea to me of showing vs. telling. Yep, that version was 7000 words of telling. *shudders*

It was Bob's review and advice that started me on my way seeking out more information about the craft of writing. Before that, I though writing was some sort of talent. It was so exciting to learn that there were some very powerful techniques that I could learn that would help me improve my writing.

I defiantly feel that version 2 of this story - the 2010 NaNoWriMo version was much, much better than the 2005, short story version. Yet, 60,000 words in, I could see it wasn't working well, but I'm not so experienced that I could easily see a way to fix it. The I watched the video by Dan Wells about the 7 point story structure and tried to plug my novel into that structure. That showed me that my ending didn't make any sense. Actually, more than that, it showed me I didn't really have an ending. Using the 7 point structure, though, I quickly came up with an ending, and a middle, and some sub-plots that all made the story fit together so much better. I was so happy! Now, I told myself, I have something to work with.

Last night, the downside of all these insights hit me as it came time to stop playing with outlines ans structure and get writing again. That was, I had to start all over again. To create the structure I wanted, I had to make some really fundamental changes to the story I already had. Mainly in the characters. The characters are completely different now. Better, but different. Beyond a revision. Have to start over. When I look at all the work I already had, this made me a little sad.

I wondered why I even want to keep trying with this story. Why not scrap it and start over with something new? I hope that since I'm still interested in this story enough to keep writing it (again) that's a sign that it may be interesting enough for other people to enjoy reading if I can ever get a draft finished. That's my hope, because I really do want to keep writing it. That almost amazes me more than anything else.

So, my fellow writers out there. What would you do in my shoes. Start over, or start something new?

3 comments:

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Yeah, you're starting over, but not from scratch. You've learned a lot about writing and about your story from that draft. So, I'd go for it and start over with the help of all of the things you've learned! :)

Donea Lee said...

Hi Kara ~ :) If you really love your story, I'm sure you've got something in the words you have now that are worth salvaging. Take what you're learning and restructure, play around with it.

If the love goes away - it never hurts to shelve a project for a little while and work on a new idea. You can always come back. Best of luck with it!

Kara Hartz said...

Thanks guys. I'm defiantly keeping some of the same scenes, but the characters will be different, and possibly the POV as well.
I'm trying to think of the other versions of this story as an elaborate pre-writing exercise that can only help the finished project.
Alas, here I sit, putting off working on it tonight. Time to get to it!