Monday, October 19, 2009

Tossing What I Love

So I'm in the part of writing in my novel that is one of the most difficult parts. Yes, I'm revising (as I'm sure many of you figured out by the first sentence), but it's the type of revision right now that is so hard for me.

I am using my current novel as a master's project as well, and I met with my committee about the first chunk of writing. Right now the main character, Anna, has a best friend named William. They have been friends for years, and my first draft had him basically as her mentor-friend.

My committee suggested I capitalize on this friendship and add a love triangle to my story. They suggested that Anna did not have to feel any differently toward William, but that William could actually be in love with Anna and complicate her other relationship. I had never even recognized that as a possibility in my novel, and I recognized their advice would make a stronger novel, so I decided to do it.

Now, here's the hard part: revising the big stuff. The actual work is not necessarily difficult, but the emotional detachment is hard. I really liked how I had it before with William giving her advice about her other beau (nope, you don't get the name because it's a big surprise in the book), but if William's in love with her, he's not going to tell Anna to give the other guy a chance.

And he's not going to be totally supportive of her decision. And now there has to be a specific reason why she chooses the other guy over her best friend. And then that decision changes the ending of the book. And...and...and...

See what I mean? That one decision to alter their relationship changes everything about the story. Not only do I have to go back through every single piece and change the lines of dialog to match the new direction, but I also have to write new scenes and edit old ones to fit this new complication. I even have to write new characters because the advice William gives Anna in the first draft has to be there, it just cannot come from William in the second draft. And no one knows Anna as well as William, so it cannot be just one character giving her the advice - it has to be several characters giving her pieces of advice to make a complete whole.

Whew! Now do you see why I hate this part of writing? It's hard for me to give up, chop up, or split up the scenes I fell in love with and are so crucial to the story and my character. I just hope that when all is said and done, I like the final draft as well as I did the first draft.