The good news is that I knew what the problem was several days ago. The bad news is that I wasn’t able to get it “resolved” until yesterday morning. This means that I spent the whole of my 4-day holiday creating a lot of words that probably won’t even be used.
I’m talking about Episode 7 in my fantasy series, of course. Those who are following this place will remember that I’ve been working on a set of serial novella’s and have begun work on Episode seven. You’ll also have gotten the idea that the process has not been as slick as the others. The reason you may have gotten this idea is that Episode Seven has been root canal hard. And the problem, as I realized, was that (say it in unison) I didn’t know what the piece was about.
This is a recurring thing to me these days. Pretty much anytime I’m struggling with a manuscript, or I’m just not happy with one in any way, it’s because I haven’t figured out what the story is about. Once I get that, suddenly things make sense and I can move forward pretty quickly. I’ve known that I had that problem with Episode 7 for some time, but I couldn’t get a handle on it–which was really frustrating. But it hit me yesterday, right at the end of my writing stint. So I took five minutes and a blank sheet of paper and wrote down several key phrases. This morning, I’m going back in and beginning the work of ripping out things that don’t belong anymore.
It sounds terrible, I suppose. But I find this quite easy and much fun. Knowing what I’m doing with a piece opens it up to me. It makes it feel deeper.
Of course, in this case it’s also told me that there most definitely will be an Episode 8–which is great, too, because I know what it is also about, and even greater, I now know that Episode 8 will definitely bring the whole story to a natural end. Sure, I suppose I could always write more in this world, but I won’t need to. The main narrative of this work will be closed. And that makes me happy. It’s so tight that I already have the title of Episode 8 in mind.
So, yeah, I wasted a long weekend of writing. But in reality I suppose that was really just the price I needed to pay to get to the state where I could see the end game.
Strange how that works sometimes.