Spending some time in relative isolation this week has allowed me to focus on the next phase of my novel: the rewrite. It’s been much more difficult to get my head around than I anticipated. There are so many things to take into account! So far I’ve mainly been thinking about plot things: are all the motivations strong (worthy) enough, is the dominant plot strong enough, are the stakes high enough, is there enough conflict, how do the subplots relate and complement . . . I’ve been reading articles on all these subjects, jotting down lists of motivations, obsessing over making sure I can categorize the elements of my story into the structural frameworks put forward by various ‘experts’.
I could obsesses and stress about all these things forever. My current dilemma is whether or not my main character is heroic or not. She’s not. Not in this book at least. Others are, but not her. I ask myself over and over whether this matters.
But, I said, enough!
I am now telling myself I just have to go with my instinct. OK, so in the past, my instinct hasn’t been that great when it comes to plotting, but I have been working hard on this, and there comes a point when you just have to trust yourself. The story is written, for good or ill. I can strengthen motivation and conflict, build on character, backstory and setting, ensure certain events are foreshadowed and setup, weed out useless scenes, add new scenes, raise the stakes . . . but even after all that, the bones of story will remain what they are.
I just need to get on with it. I think, if not for this week away, I might have avoided the whole process for another few weeks, so it’s been providential to be here alone, with little else to do, with my computer staring at me, with the knowledge that next week it’s back to work and I need to identify NOW what I’m doing next Monday at 6:30am.
So, the next step is to read it through with a pen and highlighter, and to stop being such a head case!