Thursday, July 7, 2011
The battle against Scenezilla
You see, I started working on a scene in my novel--a pivotal scene in which the protagonist is forced to make a decision he doesn't want to make--waaay back on June 30. Now, I realize that June 30 was a mere week ago and that it might not seem like a long time to be working on such an important scene.
But you see, I've been writing at a deliberately breakneck pace up till now. The idea is to reach the end of the story so that I will have a Completed First Draft (cue celestial choir). The near-term goal of this undertaking is, in fact, the Completed First Draft. It's the name of the game, the water under my raft, the wind beneath my wings (cue Bette Midler, then club her in the throat with a two-by-four before she finishes the first bar).
If I stop to think too much, I will overthink. I know this from vast personal experience. This is a first draft, not my Mona Lisa. The whole point is to get through a first pass so that I can then RE-write, not to get it all perfect the first time out.
In other words, speed is good. Speed is healthy. Speed is my bestest friend in the whole world, except for, you know, my actual friends. Spending a whole week on a single scene is not in the master plan.
But Scenezilla had other ideas. It repeatedly dodged my attempts to wrangle it, faking me out and laughing uproariously as I hit the dirt after an errant tackle attempt. It's not even that the scene is especially long; it's a little over 3500 words, which is not the longest scene yet written for this novel. It's just that it kept moving, it kept dodging, and it nearly kicked my ass, because it really did erode the momentum I had built up.
But last night, I finally put Scenezilla down. It is over, finito, it's-dead-Jim finished. I have come to the end of the "beginning" of the story, and now I can move on to the "middle."
I think I know why this scene took so long...