Over the last few weeks, you’ve seen a lot of my early writings. I hope you’ve been enjoying them. I wish that writing was as easy now as it was back then. I’ve spent these last few weeks in a sort of freaking out editing phase. I’ve never experienced anything like it, but perhaps some of my fellow writers have encountered the same.
There I was, writing along, minding my own business. Mary was doing great, playing her part, owning the role. She even surprised me with a few improvisations I wasn’t expecting. Jesse’s flirtatious ways have been amusing me, and I find myself smiling a school girl smile when he flashes a wink or cheeky grin Mary’s way.
Lewis has even been playing his role so well that he’s made me mad more than a few times. From before I began, he was my favorite supporting character. I didn’t know then that he would be fulfilling the role of antagonist. A role that he has slid into with great ease.
Laura Bell is just the cutest little eight-year-old girl I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing. I wasn’t sure what her role would be beyond that of the baby sister. I’m not even sure if there is a name for it. I just hope that readers are as enamored with her as I am.
There’s more, of course. I could talk all day about the great cast of characters I’m working with. They are all wonderful, you know. Cooperating so nicely and playing so well together. But, this isn’t a post about them. So let’s get on to the freaking out editing phase.
It begins with the end
Where was I? Oh yes. I was writing along, minding my own business, when BAM! it hits me. The End is right around the corner. It’s like right there. I’m freaking out. Total panic is setting in. I can’t write it. I can’t finish the story. I won’t let me. I’m not ready.
Working procrastination is key
I want it to finish, I just don’t want it to end. That’s the problem with writing, you know. You spend so much time with getting to know your characters and jotting down their story. All those midnight rendezvous for a little alone time spent tweaking and editing. Only to one day reach the proverbial the end.
How can I keep working towards the finish line without actually reaching the end? Enter the freaking out editing phase. With the end ever looming around the corner, I started back at the beginning.
Start with a solid foundation
I know that everything at the end will tumble like a house of cards if the beginning isn’t strong enough to hold it. I’ve learned so much about my characters’ quirks and habits along the way. I’ve fired off Chekhov’s gun, but I’ve forgotten to plant it, first.
I said I started back at the beginning, but that’s not entirely true. I did something far more crazy than that. I broke it down and took the whole thing apart.
Rebuilding it even stronger
Once Upon a Time in Iowa is spread out before me. Each scene another block. I don’t want a house of cards. I want something strong and solid. Something to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night. The cards have become legos; stronger than they were but the wrong kind of bricks.
I open a scene, whichever one is calling to me. I pick my way through, like a careful gardener plucking out the weeds. I cut and paste. I delete and add. I rewrite whole paragraphs. I’m shaping and molding each piece, aiming for perfection.
It will find its way. No matter how much I delay, no matter how many ways I find to procrastinate, the inevitable is bound to happen eventually. So, why am I so terrified of those two little words?