First off, let me state right off the bat that I’m not ‘back’. I’m still working on my super-secret-super-awesome project. Blogging is not up and running again. But I just popped in to check for mail, make sure the fridge was still running, and that the blog hadn’t burned down in a freak digital fire.
I didn’t plan to write a post, honest. But while I was dealing with an issue on said super-secret-super-awesome project, something came up, something that wouldn’t require me to give advice, but that I wanted to talk ‘out loud’ about.
While recently reworking a chapter in my super-secret-super-awesome project I made a change to an early scene affecting the main character. I thought I’d solved a problem that had been nagging me for ages and felt quite good about it.
And then I re-read that scene and the few chapters around it and noticed a massive mistake had emerged. You see, by removing one early scene, the main characters ‘path’ was redirected. This in turn led to another scene being unnecessary, which diverted the main character even more from a scene where he meets an important secondary character.
And if they never meet . . .
And that’s when I realised the difficultly of rewriting, of editing, and how similar it is to the rules of time travel.
You see, I’d plonked my size eleven down off the track and squashed the ‘butterfly of narrative’, causing a wave of change to spread throughout the story and undo a lot of things, until all the characters were suddenly talking dinosaurs and the Antarctic Empire ruled the world!!!
Like a madman using a holey bucket to scoop water from his sinking rowing boat, I spent an afternoon with only panic for company while trying to fix as much as I could. I couldn’t undo the original change because it honestly didn’t belong. But I had a lot of writing that I wanted to keep, and that I could keep . . . if I could just work out a way to ‘bend’ things to how I needed.
Spoiler; I did it (though the reader can be the final judge of that).
It was a lot of work, especially without a Doc Brown to guide me. I’ve gone back to the planning level, the very foundation of the story, and am moving pieces around here and there to make sure it all fits. A lot of chapters are staying, though they’ll need a little rewriting to accept the change.
That was a close call. Guess I’d better head back in.