Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lost My Mind...

It's official. I have lost my mind. Obviously given my last several posts, I have been feeling a bit "off" with my wip. Which as we've determined is not unique to me. I had determined some changes I needed to make in order to strengthen the story. And I've been away, in my cave trying to work through those changes.

Finally, I have them all flushed out. And I think I may have lost my mind. Because I am scrapping all 25,000 or so words I have written so far. Yeah, I've erased words before. But not 25,000! I didn't actually erase them, I just started a new document.

The most basic plot is still the same. But some pretty significant changes occurred. My hero has a different career and they traded a sibling, the inciting event has been altered and the conflict between them altered. I think it was the conflict between them... You know that "thing" keeping them apart... That was bugging me most.

There was a conflict in the previous version. A decent one at that. And technically, it's still there. But it's just not strong enough. And that was bugging me. So now it's a new one and that's great.

I don't regret all the writing I did earlier. If I hadn't written all of that, I wouldn't have realized what the real conflict is. So it was productive.

Now I've done a complete outline... something else new for me. And I'm taking it scene by scene. As much as I feel like I should be overwhelmed at scrapping the first version, really I'm just excited to have worked it out and be getting started. I might have made it to this point sooner if I had been more willing to just scrap the first. But that thought was a little scary!

What's the most you've ever scraped? Did you have a hard time doing it?



Caroline said...

It is so terrifying to delete those words - but good writing is about having the courage/stupidity to press that delete button.
I've managed 15,000 words in one scraping and that was mainly because I did 8,000 and then got a bit over keen!
Thanks for visiting my blog.

MaryF said...

I have over 300 pages scrapped from each of my last three books - enough for a whole NEW book. But I always save them in a "cuts" file. I can't bear to throw them out.

Stacy Dawn said...

I have a hard time doing one line let alone a whole bunch. I think about 5000 has been my highest so far

DJ said...

I think the most I've scrapped is the first third of a WIP. Well, by the time you've gotten that far and know your story has crashed and burned you've essentially started a whole new book, so I'm not sure that qualifies or not. I'm really good at scraping entire scenes. But like you, I never really delete them. Just hide them in my "extra" folder. Sometimes you find another place for them later on or even in a whole new story. Sometimes you go back and reread them and realize their only salvation is a quick and painless death.

I'm proud of you, April. It takes courage to cut.

Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Oh my goodness, April! I'm now feeling v scared, because you've had the courage to do something that I've been secretly considering... I know how difficult that must've been for you, well done!!

Sue :-)

Stephanie Bose said...

April, I can so identify, and let me say, I think you are both brave and right. Your first go at the book was important -- it helped you feel things out. And being able to step back and say things such as "he needs a new career to make x, y and z work" or "they need to switch siblings" shows, I think, the brain of a true writer.

The most I have scrapped? I took a 75,000-word book, ripped it to shreds, kept 5% of the original content, and wrote a 146,000-word book that is currently being cut down to 120K. All this to say: we do what we have to do to make the book the best it can be :)

Julie S said...

Good for you! The most important thing is trusting your gut, and if that "thing" was bugging you, it probably needed a fix.

Lately I feel like for every new word I write, I delete three. That's a good thing. But back in March or so, I cut about 15 or 20K. It was so hard, but my WIP is much better for it.

Emma Sinclair said...

I cut close to 10,000 last week.

But like you said, the book is so much better, and I was able to replace those words very quickly. And I was able to reuse more than I thought with only a few tweaks here and there.

Good luck!

Nicole Reising said...

Way to go April!!!!! I'm so proud of you! I know this will be good and like you said, all that writing helped you in the long run. I haven't technically scrapped that much, though leaving my other books... does kind of feel like I've scraped them. But who knows maybe someday parts or maybe all of them will be utilized. In the meantime they all helped me learn what I know today. As I'm sure what I'm currently writing will continue to do the same. :) I can't wait to read it!!!!!!


Karen Erickson said...

I cut about 20k on a novel that I'm still not happy with which means I'll probably cut another 35k (approximately half of the book) to rework the sucker. Which I think I might do over the holiday season.

I am a glutton for punishment.

Congrats on figuring out the way you wanted to go and for your bravery in the chopping! Your still will be so much better now I'm sure.

April said...

Wow! Lots of scrapping going on! Glad to hear I'm not the only one. It's definately making things better!