When I saw a TED video called “Try Something New For 30 Days” by Matt Cutts a few days ago, I knew immediately it was the cue I needed to get back to re-writing and editing a story I’d really wanted to write but which I couldn’t finish.
I’m going to commit July to getting to getting to grips with that story (while not forgetting all those other July summery things like floating on water!).
I’ve written a mass of material – far too much for a short story. It has got too spread out and I have quite simply lost my way with it.
So the question is, how should I re-start? So many choices! But I need to find a new way to go about it.
* I know my protagonist and her problem (but not the ending). So should I just write the story fresh from the beginning and see how it shapes itself and comes out this time? Is that the “something new”?
* Should I note down the images and scenes that first pop back into my mind when I start working on it again – and assume those are the important focus points and work from them?
* Should I go through my stack of drafts and list all the scenes/ideas, and then try to order them? I realize that’s ‘old stuff’ but after all, what’s the point of writing yet more material?
* Or should I go back to my first draft and re-examine the clues and start again from there?
* Usually I write what I call “story stories” – that is, traditional scenes, dialogue, action, but this one seems (as has rightly been pointed out to me by a critiquing friend) more of a monologue. Should I continue with the story by learning how to work with a monologue? Is this the “something new” I should try?
I found it funny that on the same day as seeing the video, my horoscope in the Globe and Mail told me to stop looking so hard for the solution to “some kind of problem”!
What do you suggest?