No, not me, I’m pretty chipper here, getting plenty of sleep, beautiful day, everything’s fine.
I’m talking about exhausting my text by rewriting.
There comes a time when I’m not rewriting any more, I’m just washing garbage. That is, there’s good stuff in there, but the scene itself is so compromised that doing it again and again is just nuts: I’ve washed all the life out of the scene and now I’m just scrubbing at the structure points. It becomes incomprehensible.
In the case of the breakfast scene, I have seven different versions in a desktop file, and that’s not counting the others that are stashed in folders in Dropbox. So I’ve been reading through them and trying to combine them and I finally thought, This is nuts. You know this is nuts.
The thing is, I write stories because I like writing, not revising. Revising is necessary and I do like analyzing and seeing the bones of the scene under the words, but the words are still what’s important. So while the breakfast scene is crucial and has to accomplish a lot, it’s not a set of Lego blocks, it’s a story. And I don’t assemble stories, I write them.
So the breakfast file folder is now closed, and I’m writing the scene from scratch. Well, not scratch: I know everything that’s going to happen in it, I know the shape of it, I have an outline of it, I know what comes before it and what comes after it. But all of that is the reason I have to start over and write it fresh. The previous drafts exhausted that version of the scene. I’ve got too much new information about it now, the scenes around it have changed too much.
.The one tip-off that I’m doing the right thing? It’s such a relief. I love writing and this scene has so much good, fun stuff in it. I needed to write the other versions to get here, but now it’s time to set them free and write the scene as it’s meant to be.
Now, it’s fun again.