If only I..
Writing a novel is difficult, time consuming, mind consuming affair. It takes a lot of time just to find the best time for you to write, and even then, it may not go well. If you are a writer, you already know this. If not, this pretty much applies to any and all of life’s endeavors, “If only I had done this, or not done that.”
I am in the last, final, terminal, final and last rewrite of my metaphysical road novel, Back outta the World. The challenge for me on this project is presenting a main character to the readers who doesn’t know quite why he is on this road trip on he has found himself on. If Jay doesn’t know, why should the reader care? This struggle between where his mind is and where the body is going, must be interesting enough to keep the pages turning. So, I’ve had to be careful as the book goes along. It is hard to keep a character from himself yet show enough to keep the reader “in the book.”
If only I…
I found myself attempting to revise a critical line in the novel. The protagonist is about to declare his thoughts and reactions when suddenly being asked to go much further on the trip than expected. He had told a friend on page three his intentions. On page 12 he is asked again. I was stuck on the answer because Jay revealed too much of the answer. In other words, If Back outta the World was a murder mystery, then Jay would have revealed on page 12, “who done it“. So, I had to change is response. “If only Jay had not said that on page three.”
I went back to page three and did just that. I went back a day in the book, changed it, and it made the present work. Nice work if you can get it, right?
If only I…
If only we could do that in real life.
But I did capture what is great about writing a novel, or novella or short story. You can change an ” if only” in the past to make the present better! In the present moment of revising that line I was stuck, frustrated. In my example, I went page a few pages to clarify and reshape what my protagonist said about his trip back outta the world.
I did just that
That, in turn made my real-life present day enjoyable. Fixing an “if only” changed, cleared and energized my mind. I felt like I had achieved something positive, and unique to me. I could carry that energy with me the rest of the day, which is all we really get anyway. Yes, writing is hard but within it is contained the chance to fix the past. It is nice work, and I have it.