Separated, Together, Separated Again #IWSG

Egads! It’s March already. Since it’s the first Wednesday of the month, it means today is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day.

I have an event in my book (*gasp* who would have thought of that?), and it’s giving me grief. I’m presently working on my fifth version of it. Not revisions where it’s just tweaking and editing, but an actual, straight up different version. It should be simple. The ground breaks and the character gets separated from his friend. For versions one and two, it was an earthquake, which I had to remove. After removing it, I had the character’s power that ripped energy from the ground, destabilizing it. Then a beta reader told me she didn’t see the point of one of the earlier chapters. With a sigh, I tried a different version, where I combined two chapters into one and succeeded in making my critique group say WTF. I tweaked it some more, felt it was sufficient, and moved on.

Unfortunately, by combining those two chapters, I cut out time between events that was previously used to indicate a minor character was attracted to the POV. As I moved forward, I realized I’d lost my opportunity to bring it up in a natural way, therefore what I had planned for later in the book simply wouldn’t work. And gosh darn it, I want it to work.

So here I am, on version 5, breaking it out into two chapters once again. This time, it won’t be his power ripping up the ground, it’ll be something else.

*sigh* Am I insecure? Yeah. A part of me wonders if I should use the earthquake to separate the POV from his friend. But if I do that, I would have to throw out six chapters and reorder my timeline. I don’t want to do it, I don’t know how I’d do it, but that voice inside my head is nudging me in that direction. GAH!

Have you ever struggled with an event in your story? How did you get past it? Does your gut ever tell you to rewrite everything?

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You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

30 thoughts on “Separated, Together, Separated Again #IWSG

  1. YES! I *hate* when that happens. It’s so fricking frustrating because you want it to work and… it doesn’t. That’s (one of) the parts I hate about editing. Things like this. But you’ll push through! You’re smart and creative and you’ll find a way to make the story (and yourself) happy!

  2. Version 5, wow, contrats, at least you are making progress. Happy IWSG Day.

  3. By gut tells me to rewrite everything all the time. Sometimes, it’s right, other times it’s just messing with me. It’s frustrating when you know something isn’t right and you keep trying to rework it.

  4. Would considering a sinkhole help? They can accomplish similar damage.

    Good luck with your revisions.

  5. I’m sorry! I had to redo a critical event near the end of my first book several times to find a plausible answer that fit. You’ll get it all ironed out.

  6. I’ve had to do this. Just write different versions of the same scene until I hit upon the one that actually works for the overall story. I could probably publish another version of my books. Or put them all together in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style story.

    And my gut tells me to rewrite things all the time. I hate to say it, but my gut is usually right. Just don’t tell my gut that I said that. It’ll go straight to its head.

  7. Yes, I get gut instincts and they are usually right. You’ve gotten to draft 5 (how awesome) and now you (and your gut) can see the big picture. The up side is, if you don’t like the change, you can put it back.

  8. Yup, definitely have struggled with scenes. You just have to keep working at it and eventually your characters will tell you how it works.

  9. Ugh. I feel your pain. I am also currently mired in a plot point revision that is proving significantly more difficult to make work than I had anticipated. Good luck to you with your re-writing. Hope you find the perfect solution. Happy March, indeed! So glad we’re heading toward warmer weather. Thanks for the post, and happy writing to you.

  10. Lost Girl Road is still sitting in my files, and yes, my gut tells me I still mostly need to rewrite it. I want to focus on nonfiction, so it’s not a priority, but when I do start working on it again, I need to put a lot more thought into character motivation.

  11. Sometimes when I get stuck I go to the side and write the scene from a different character’s perspective. It works more often than not, but then I forget things that are known to that character aren’t necessarily known to the POV and then weirdness ensues.

    You can make it work!

  12. Please! No talk of earthquakes. I live in L.A. and we always have that threat though the California faults have been quiet n recent years. I hope it stays that way.

    I’ve never gotten past a first version. I don’t know if I have the patience to edit stuff too many times.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  13. I’ve definitely had to make changes before but I don’t think anything that serious. I feel like as I’ve been editing my novel, I’ve just been making a TON of small changes along the way. And it isn’t all the frustrating because I feel like I’m finally figuring it out. Good luck with figuring out yours!

  14. OMG, I struggle with how to incorporate events in my story all the time. It’s one of my biggest time sinks. I’ll find a logic hole, or I get the order wrong, or it just doesn’t seem to fit and I’ll have to change things or move them around. When everything works itself out, it’s a great feeling, but until that point it’s a real pain in the butt.

    I feel your pain.

  15. It’s tough rewriting and trying to figure out what works. It’s even tougher when your CPs disagree. Which one is right? Which one is right?!! Usually the gut is right, even when it means more work. Good luck with figuring it out!

  16. Oh yes, I’ve struggled. It’s maddening. I hope you figure it out.

  17. Yes, yes and yes. Sigh. I still have a manuscript I am about to tear about and rewrite the point of view. I think it will be version 5 or 6 too. I don’t want to, but I saw a style in another book I loved that I think will clarify lots and lots of questions. I wish you luck Loni. I know you’ll find the answers.

  18. My usual struggles are with the endings. I know the beginning and the middle of a story, but the end frequently eludes me, and I have to push myself to find it. By the way – to solve your problem, bring in a ‘man with a gun’. This plot device always helps.

  19. I’m sure you’ll find once you hit on *the* solution, everything else will fall into place. That’s how you know it’s the right solution. Is there another character that can separate the two in a semi-natural way?

  20. I hear your pain, my dear. Have had versions and then versions and then major dump. Why is this so hard? I think I scream that once or so. Hang in there. All will be well and then you’ll say, “See? I knew I could do.”

  21. If your gut is telling you to go one way, it just might be right, even if it’s more work. Good luck!

  22. It’s tough when you have to nix something and end up with a broken story!! Ugh. I’m struggling with a first draft because I’m scared of that very thing happening to me. I need to stop and re-outline. I think it might help.

  23. Diane Burton

    I’m revising/editing a story I wrote 15 years ago. Besides the technology that needs changing, I’ve found things that don’t make sense. Mainly because I didn’t understand the characters’ motivations well enough. After 5 versions, I suggest you set this aside for a week or two. Work on something else. When you come back to it, your subconscious will have been working and you’ll figure it out. Good luck.

  24. It must be something to do with February – we all seem to be rewriting our future masterpieces. If we need to rewrite to move on, then it’s good to be ‘insecure’ at this moment in March. All the very best, Lori – and may great inspiration emerge in the Treasure Valley.

  25. Oh yes, I feel for you.

  26. Yvette Carol

    I feel your stress, Loni! I always find later on, that my little inner writer’s voice had been trying to tell me all along but for a long time I didn’t listen. Nevertheless, in the end you will get there. Sometimes it’s a more winding road than others! 🙂

  27. Stephen Tremp

    I have to take advice from Stephen King from his ‘On Writing’ book and keep the revisions to 2 or 3. Then turn it over to the editor. Looking back I spent so much time in revisions. Best wishes to you moving forward.

  28. Yes, I have struggled with events. In a recent story, I was trying to make something dramatic happen to provide an opportunity for the MC to save the day, and I did not like how it turned out. If I ever did rewrite it, it will not be fun to fix that. I hope you find something that works.

  29. That sounds super challenging. Hope you find a way through it.

    I’m wary of showing first drafts in progress to critique partners or groups for exactly this reason. It can often create self-doubt and keep one from telling the story her way.

  30. I’ve had those issues with stories. The perfect scenario will present itself. Maybe not when you want it to. Keep writing. 🙂

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