Every writer, no matter how egotistical they are (or become) has one story that will never, ever, EVER see the light of day. It’s the one that gets dumped in a box and shoved under the bed, and it comes around to taunt you and make growly noises every so often.
What’s mine? My NaNo project, Iron Jewel.
Initially, I was so damn proud of it (not that I’m ashamed of it now). I wrote almost 80,000 words in three weeks (yes, I finished a week before the contest ended), the longest story I’d completed to date. I had a complex MC. I had ideas for four more stories featuring the same characters and continuing the arc I’d set up in Jewel. I had a villain that made me squirm with discomfort. In short, it had all the elements of a great, highly entertaining book.
I’ve been searching for a piece to send in for another contest, and as I’ve already submitted Finders Keepers and Shadowdemon to previous contests, I thought I’d submit Iron Jewel. After re-reading the first chapter, I decided I’d be laughed out of the contest if I submitted it and slunk off with my tail between my legs.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve pulled out various chapters, picking them apart, searching for a less obvious solution.
The obvious solution, of course, is to start from scratch.
I really don’t want to do that. Like, really, REALLY don’t want to do that.
It’s so daunting, because I know there’s some decent writing in there, parts that I could use, but I don’t know how. Anne Lamott, in Bird By Bird, describes how with one novel, she’d printed the entire thing out and set out each scene, or sometimes a single page or whole chapter, and began moving them around like puzzle pieces, trying to find the way they’d fit together. This could work, except that the one problem the story doesn’t have is a continuity issue. I can’t move the pieces around without an Infinity Gauntlet (I just learned what this was after watching The Avengers this weekend. Sometimes having a comic book geek for a friend really pays off 🙂 )
It needs more action. It needs a manly man instead of a girly man. It needs more intrigue, and yakuza, and research (I hate research). The MC needs a stronger voice and needs to be less waffle-y. It needs some kerosene and a match. It’d make a good bonfire.
I wish Iron Jewel wasn’t relegated to the status of “do not show this to ANYBODY” status. It’s quite sad, especially since the BF not only thought of the title, he actually helped quite a bit with the plotting of the story. And kept me supplied with bottomless glasses of wine.
But for now, it’ll remain in the box, until such time that Remy demands I rewrite her story or she’ll turn me into a newt. Or something.