For the past month or so I’ve been forging ahead on a new manuscript, a sequel to my neolithic detective novel Talus and the Frozen King. The story’s well plotted and I’ve been having a ball putting down the words. Seventy pages in, it’s become painfully obvious they’re the wrong words. So I’ve dumped them all in an archive folder, sobbed quietly in a corner and made ready to start again.
There’s a strong argument to say I should just carry on. Storm the first draft as if it’s the Normandy landings and rely on the medics to patch up the damage later. Trouble is, I set down on the wrong beach. Better to make a tactical retreat and come in again, this time when the tide’s right and there’s a favourable wind. In layman’s terms, that means a few weeks from now.
In the meantime, I’ve picked up a manuscript I wrote a couple of years ago called String City. It’s a fantasy novel about a private investigator who’s good with dimensions (some of you may have read the short fiction I’ve written about him). This time it’s the ending that’s broken. Serendipitously, at the same moment I stalled on Talus and the S_____ S____ (no, I’m not giving the title away yet), I finally worked out what was wrong with String City.
I’ve given myself the next few weeks to reshape it. First I need to write around 20,000 words of new material for a brand new finale. Then I need to track all the continuity bombs this will inevitably launch backwards through the narrative. By the time I’ve done that, I might actually have something worth reading.
And I’ll be ready to invade the stone age again.
2 thoughts on “Writing update – a tactical retreat”
Always a bummer when that happens, Graham. But like I always say – hang on to everything! There may be scenes in there you can modify and re-use for something else later on. 🙂
Thanks, Greg. I’ve put the manuscript on the naughty step for a while so it can think hard about what it’s done. With luck, when I pick it up again, it will have learned to behave.