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WIP update

16 February, 2015

I’m about 4000 words into my latest WIP – I won’t say “new” WIP as I actually started last summer before my old laptop died – and I have never been completely sure about some of the plot points, but I figured I would just keep going and see if anything came up.

There are two major elements that have never sat right. Firstly, the resolution. The plot would move nicely along in a planned and considered direction until it reached its point of conflict at the beginning of the third act. But I hadn’t thought through what the resolution of that conflict would be. Or rather I knew where the story had to get to, how it would end, but couldn’t think exactly how the conflict would resolve itself so as to allow the story to go on that course. I didn’t worry too much, though, something would come up. Just get stuff written, feel my way in, see how I got on. The end is 100k words away yet, who knows where we might end up.

Secondly, the circumstances whereby the story takes place. I don’t want to say too much about what the premis of the novel is, but whilst the events happen in the real, contemporary world, they are slightly removed from reality and I therefore need to explain, credibly, how the circumstances came about. I had a theory, one which made sense, but early on the main character has to explain this to another character (and, therefore, to the reader) and as I wrote this, my belief in the theory fell away – it just didn’t work. Logically it made sense but it was, frankly, a but shit.

And then, last week, from nowhere (as these thoughts usually are), I found another explanation for how the circumstances arise. One which made more sense. And, critically, one which the main character was not aware of. So whereas before he was explaining his world to somebody else, now he does not realise he lives in world outside the norm, and when peculiar events occur, he is the victim of them, not the perpetrator. This gives the whole thing a new level of plot as the MC now has to first realise this, and then work out for himself what is happening, how and why. And the reader has to do the same along with him.

My initial reaction on thinking of the new explanation of the circumstances was “shit, that means I have to rethink the whole plot and bin everything I’ve done so far”. I started writing a list of things which I would need to change, initially to put myself off this new explanation, but as I wrote the list, I thought of new, alternative plot points. Better plot points, more interesting and intriguing ones. And a new, similar but better, novel is beginning to take shape. I haven’t restarted the actual getting-the-words-down phase of the writing yet, but the pondering and plotbuilding are coming along nicely.

Where does this leave the question of the ending? Well, the plot will still arrive at the same (or at least a very similar) point of conflict, but now it is more believable that it reaches this point. So while I’m still not 100%, or even 50%, sure what the ending will be, I know it will be a better one.

 

Why am I telling you all this? Not to help you understand the plot, clearly, Im not sure much of what has gone before will make any sense to anyone else. No, I’m telling you all this because there is a lesson here. Don’t be afraid of having to, as Orange Juice once sang, Rip it up and start again. The first start turned out to be a false start, but I needed it as a step towards where I am now, a better place with a better plot.

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From → Blogging, My Head, Writing

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