A Painful Decision

Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 10:22 PM

Having come back to my last novel, Conduit, after more than a month away from it I feel I've got some distance on it now. There are things I'm not happy about in terms of the plot (one aspect in particular) and I'm starting to realise that making the opening chapter a flashback might have been a mistake. The first chapter, as much as I like it, is set fourteen years before the main events of the novel and as such is really back story. I need to find a way to get to the real story from the start. I have some ideas I've been toying with, so it looks like I might have to make that difficult choice to cut the first chapter altogether and replace it with a new opening that will get the ball rolling.

That in itself will mean some structural changes to the overall story arc, but it will allow me to look at other aspects that have been troubling me.

Had the idea of cutting the first chapter come up two months ago, I think I would rather have cut off a finger. Actually, that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea. With a little perspective on it, I think I can make the cut and hopefully make it a better novel, and also make it more focused, and possibly even come up with a decent hook for it!

Question is, do I stick with the current novel until its first draft is finished then go back to Conduit to make the required changes, then after that go back to the new novel and start rewriting it? That would be the sensible thing to do, but I might find it hard to resist temptation and wind up going back to Conduit sooner rather than later. I guess I'll just see how it goes.




Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Follow your inspiration, but temper with discipline.

I think you're better off letting it simmer for awhile. I am considering a fairly major revision to my current novel for marketability, but I still think I need distance. So, I'll write for another week and then I'll take a look at it. But copy it all into another file and then revise, so that you have the old novel still intact. I've learned this sort of revision is complicated and brutal.

Along these same lines, I'm revising my first novel, which I wrote four years ago and was well recieved at DAW but then slipped through the cracks. My emotion toward the project is much more tempered now. If you feel like you're cutting off a finger, then you're still too close to do it justice.

Besides, someone might like the novel the way it is. You can always submit all over to agents and if it doesn't get picked up you can resubmit in a year or some months having seriously revised it. I certainly will be resubmitting to the same agents who refused it last time.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Conduit said...

One thing I've learned from having stuff critiqued is that usually when people pick up on something as a problem, as often as not it's something I was uncertain about myself. This is the case here. Having said that, I'm going to continue with the new novel for now and go back to Conduit when it's done, unless something staggeringly good pops into my head to use for a new opening. Failing that, by the time I get through a whole other novel, I'll hopefully have enough distance on it to be able to make more balanced judgements,

9:25 AM  

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