Re-Envisioning a Story

Posted on

A couple of months ago, after working on a story for close to a year, I decided to put it away for a few months. I had written and heavily revised it, but something just didn’t feel right about it. Well now that I’ve had the distance of time, I’ve finally realized what I was too blind to see all along. The story doesn’t work.

While I can still envision my hero and heroine, I made some crucial, newbie mistakes that cannot be overcome by revision alone (one of them being failing to properly plot out my middle and ending). I’m so glad that I came to this conclusion before I started querying the project, as I had initially planned on doing.

Though it pains me to say this, I’ll have to rewrite my entire story. I can see what did and didn’t work now, and I have a solid plan in my head for how to fix it, but unfortunately that means little of my original story will remain the same. While it hurts to think of this, I don’t think of that year of writing as wasted time. This is the novel where I learned much of my craft. I made just about every mistake you can make and now I have a much better understanding of what to do to make a story work.

So here I go, preparing to rework the story again. Fingers crossed: I hope this is the last time!

For you writers, have you ever worked on a story that just wouldn’t leave you alone, even if you had to do some major rewriting to tell that story the way it needed to be told? I know I’m not alone in this. Right?

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Re-Envisioning a Story

    claudia celestial girl said:
    December 8, 2010 at 9:25 am

    you are not alone! I have done this twice now. I have written my ms the first time to about 250 pages, then asked for professional ms assessment; then after some time off again to about 250 pages before getting a robust critique. Then I tok some classes with attention on plotting (should have done that first!).

    My only consolation – two items. The first from a pulitzer prize winning author (as well as Stephen King’s own biography) that it takes about four novels for a writer to really learn their craft. And a teacher recently told me that she writes herself into a story about 200 pages before she really knows where it is going.

    So I feel like it is a process. I don’t mind reworking a single story idea rather than four different ones, before feeling like a master of the craft. Some of the discarded scenes may find their way into future work. I’ve also recently started winning contests with my writing, so I feel like this is not a never-ending process but one that is closing as it should.

    Thanks for posting this. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 8, 2010 at 10:00 am

      You are definitely not the only one. It’s frustrating, but I try to remind myself it’s part of the process. But I really, really hope my brain figures it all out this time. I so want to tell this story! 🙂

    Maeve Greyson said:
    December 8, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I am SO with you on this one. I’ve also come to the realization that re-vamping an existing story is much like renovating a house. I think it would be much easier to use dynamite and just start all over. 🙂

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 8, 2010 at 10:01 am

      Yes Maeve, you’re so right. There are times when you need to do structure work, like moving walls, and other times when you have to tear it down to the foundation and build again. 🙂

    Rebecca Zanetti said:
    December 8, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Yep, been there. In fact, my agent is about to send out proposals on a book I rewrote 3 times. But now it’s finally ready! So keep on writing… 🙂

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 8, 2010 at 10:42 am

      Arghh, 3 times? I guess it’s all part of the fun of writing. 🙂 I also imagine that’s why most writers laugh when they hear someone say, “You know, I could write a great book if I just had the time.” Ah, the naivety.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 8, 2010 at 10:42 am

      Arghh, 3 times? I guess it’s all part of the fun of writing. 🙂 I also imagine that’s why most writers laugh when they hear someone say, “You know, I could write a great book if I just had the time.” Ah, the naivety.

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    December 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Yup. I feel your pain. Usually I know it within 50 pages though. I have had the wonderful opportunity to re-write three previously published books and I loved that – I was able to fix all those nagging little things I wasn’t quite sold on the first time around.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

      Wow, I can only hope that with time I’ll be able to spot it within the first 50 pages. I always feel like if I just keep revising, maybe it will work…

      It’s hard to give up the ghost! 🙂

    Nina Pierce said:
    December 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    At least you can save your manuscript. I’m not sure my first couple of stories can even be rewritten to save them from the fate of being stowed under my bed. 😉

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      I don’t know how much of a “save” it really is, Nina. I’m basically keeping the names and a couple of key concepts, but like a Fire Sale, everything else must go! 😦

    laradunning said:
    December 10, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Sounds like you have a good outlook on the whole process. I had to rework alot of my first novel as well after the first draft. Then on to more edits after betareaders. Just gotta have faith that in the end it will all work out.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      December 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

      I’m trying to be positive about it, and I really love the new developments in the story line. I just wish I had put them in there to begin with. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s