I’m re-writing the beginning of Planes Shifter from scratch. I’m checking and re-checking my five main sub-plots to ensure I don’t veer off too far from them this time. But this is almost like a new story without those extra plot-hole-fillers I’d added in through all my previous edits. I’ve written six scenes from scratch; and it’s reminded me of the joy of discovering a new story.
Things are flowing well, which lets me know I’m on the right track.
When people talk about writer’s block, I tend to think of it as a break in flow – I’ve hit a bank, and now get to choose whether to take the left fork or the right one. Sometimes though, I’ve just reached some rapids or a mini-waterfall, and I just need to re-read the past bit, and focus on my next scene. Once I’ve made the decision, things seem to fall back into place again.
In it’s previous incarnation, I feel that I let “more snakes out of the bag than [I was] able to kill”, and thus when I hit a block, I had around 15 different streams I could choose. And 14 of them had a massive waterfall too high for me to survive. So I’d cut away at the edge of the bank until I’d made yet another tributary, away from that plot hole, but into even more dangerous terrain.
And thus, I ended up with 18 subplots and not even one of them led to the sea.
So here I am, enjoying the view of my one river; making the odd yes/no choice as I go, but still able to see where the other track would roughly have taken me. I can keep an eye out from my boat, check the map and my compass often; and hopefully we’ll reach the ocean soon.
How do you stay on course when writing or revising?