I actually started writing this post on Sunday 23 November 2008, but never got around to finishing it…or posting it. This is how the post started:
Today, when I complained about the difficulty I’m having with the edit of Mirror Image, someone close to me asked what I was trying to achieve. At first, I was a little taken aback and my defences went up. I thought I was going to have to defend my decision to write to another person who believed everyone wants to be a writer so you’re wasting your time. But then the person elaborated on the question and I realised I had misunderstood what was being asked.
“Don’t writers do many edits?” the person asked. “What are you trying to achieve with this one?”
What was I trying to achieve? In fact, when I thought about it, this was a good question. I realised that whilst I’ve been acting as if I’m trying to turn the first draft into a perfect polished draft (which, at the rate I’m going, will only happen by some miracle), I should be concentrating on something less ambitious and then maybe, I’ll actually get somewhere. As soon as I had this thought, the edit didn’t seem so scary…and hard.
This edit should be all about getting the plot straightened out. If I can fix those large holes in the climax where all the storylines come together all at once; and if I can write the “missing” scene from the secondary character’s point of view; then…and only then…would I be able to say that I have satisfactorily completed the first edit. Only when the things listed above are done should I turn my attention to a second, more intense edit of the actual characters and their reasons for being in the story.
You see, if you think about it, you will agree that the manuscript is actually incomplete in its present state. And that is why I’m having so much trouble with the edit. How can I edit something that hasn’t been written? It also explains why I keep going back to the arc I’ve been working on, instead of editing the minor character’s storylines.
With this in mind, I have decided to change tactics. I will continue to work on the arc for the climax. My progress on that is going well – slow, but well – I have already completed three quarters of the work. Once that is finished, I will start another arc for the secondary character’s storyline. Something went horribly wrong in the first draft and I can’t allow it to remain like it is as the character must provide a very strong message to the reader. In fact, this character is one that I have a lot in common with and I still find it strange that this is the one I had the most trouble with. Anyway, now I need to pull it back into line.
I feel as if I’ve discovered a secret path which will take me through a maze I admit I was lost in. This makes me feel excited and eager to get back to work, which I think I’ll do right now. 🙂
And that’s where I had stopped writing last Sunday. Having read over it again, I can see that I did finish the post, but never got around to adding it to my blog (or doing the writing I said I was going to do). Now, however, what has been said isn’t actually true as I haven’t done any of the things I said above. On Monday, I received some news that has made me think about other things for most of the week – private things that I will not go into here. I’ve spent every moment of every day focused on this other thing. I could even say I’ve been thinking about while I sleep because I’ve dreamed about it too. My writing hasn’t been given a thought in this time, but I found my thoughts straying to Mirror Image yesterday so I opened a character’s storyline and read it right through.
It was the other secondary character; the son of the secondary character I’m having trouble with. He is a character I enjoyed writing and it really does show in my words. Everything about him is so different to me and I felt as if I was on an adventure when I wrote his story. I admit that it needs some work, but overall I’m pleased with the way it turned out. I even found tears welling in my eyes in one spot. His message is strong and clear.
Anyway, in reality, this means that I’ve edited four of the six viewpoints. The only two left are the main character and her mother. I’ve decided to go back to my original plan and fix up the secondary character’s (the mother’s) viewpoint.
I’m a woman. I’m allowed to change my mind. 🙂