Over the past few weeks I’ve been going back through a lot of the story snippets that I generated during my 750 Words blitz, trying to see if there are any nuggets in there that are worth expanding and maybe even finishing up. The story that I’ve been focusing on most closely in last few days is about a boy who finds that things don’t always turn out as you expect. Or at least that’s what the current draft is about. Kind of. It’s complicated.
I decided to work on this story mostly because it seemed to be one of the most complete drafts sitting in my 750W archive and I thought, lazily, that it was so close to completion that only minimal effort would be required to finish it up. I’ve now started in on a third completely different draft of the story, so it would seem that my initial assessment of the story’s completeness was, how should I say this? Terrible.
On the one hand, going back and writing this same story over and over again, trying to figure out exactly how it should unfold, which characters should remain and which should be cut, and how long the whole thing ought to be has been something of a nightmare. This was not the project that I thought I was getting into. And yet, on the other hand, having to go back and rework everything so many times has, I think, given me a decent amount of insight into what makes this particular story work or not work, what a reader might enjoy or not enjoy. These are valuable developments for any story and hopefully I’ll be able to use them in my future writings.
I should mention to my fellow writers, though, that I’m not recommending rewriting everything that you’re working on until you’ve seen every possible portrayal of your narrative. That would be kind of a crazy thing to do (unless maybe you’re Haruki Murakami, at which point I would like to ask, why are you reading my blog?!). But there’s definitely been some silver lining to what, after a while, was starting to feel like wasted time.
On a related note, I’m hoping to have a different short story – one from those same 750W sessions – up in the next couple of days. Unless, at the last minute, I decide that I need to rewrite the whole thing again. That could slow the process.