Kill Your Darlings (Sort Of)


I wrote myself into a time-loop, by accident.

This is the problem with writing a story in the order that the ideas come to you instead of in chronological order: the potential for dis-continuity in the narrative. I’ve been making an effort to go chapter-by-chapter with my writing to force myself to produce the missing ‘connective tissue’ to string my chapters and scenes into a proper narrative, but even with this in mind it is easy to get distracted and to try to jump around as ideas occur to me. To prevent this, I’ve started creating new files that contain only a single chapter at a time. I’m not allowed to drop the chapter back into the main document until the whole chapter is written, start to finish.

It works, most of the time. It prevents me from getting sucked into reading material I’ve already written (because it’s way easier to just read than to actually write). And it helps me keep track of how long each chapter is. But it does mean that sometimes I can spend days futzing with a single chapter without making much apparent progress.

AND

With the chapter out of context from the rest of the story it is easy to get sucked into a time-loop. I had the first half of a chapter written, but I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it. So I moved it around in my timeline. This seemed like a good idea and sparked a very successful few pages of new material. The gist of it goes something like this:

  • Main Character comes home to discover Friend working on computers.
  • Main Character tells Friend about an upcoming Show that they’ve booked.
  • Friend prepares to publicize Show to adoring public.

It sounds simple enough, except that the ‘Friend’ was supposed to be conspicuously absent from the Main Character’s life until after the Show. It was a major plot hinge for a later chapter to have the Main Character discover the Friend crashing at his place just after the Show.

Damnit.

One way or another, half the chapter was going to have to get re-written. So I had to unpick all my stitches like Penelope trying to undo her weaving. I trimmed off the new pages and put them aside for later and moved the whole chapter back to it’s original place in the continuity. It’s not quite a ‘Kill Your Darlings’ kind of moment, but it was definitely a ‘Disassemble Your Darlings Into Component Parts’ moment.

Back to the drawing board.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 12, 2018.

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