Thursday 23rd April 2020
I’m a little frustrated with myself. The novel is now at the stage where I just need to make some changes around the middle and then I’m ready to redraft.
Let me summarise. I’ve decided that one plot arc which featured “Bruce Wayne” (not actual Bruce Wayne but the secret identity of the hero) is being swapped out to feature “Batman” (i.e. the alter ego). As a result, one of the antagonists in this draft has to change. I’ve done a lot of storycraft work and I know what sort of conflict they need to present to the hero. This means a major scene gets shifted later and slightly changed, but it also means I need to establish the conflict with said protagonist and build it, preceding this scene.
I think I have a good handle on what needs to be done. Antagonist X needs to do Y which goes against what the hero believes and hence heightens the conflict.
My problem is Y.
The issue is to do with ideology. I realise this lacks a lot of context (because… spoilers) but the simple version of this is that the anatagonist exhorts a shopkeeper. That works. It ticks all the boxes, I know I can take that forward and build so that the moved / changed major scene works.
…something feels off.
I’ve had a bit of a stressful week this week so it could be that it’s impacting my creativity. Sometimes I just need to walk away and destress and everything sorts itself out.
It could be procrastination. I get this sorted and then I need to do the hard work. Except the frustration I’m feeling is because I want to start redrafting.
Or it could be that there’s something wrong with this set up. My gut tells me it’s too simple, it’s boring; that the escalation of conflict will feel forced and not engaging.
Over the years, I’ve learnt to trust my gut. I was in exactly the same position a few weeks ago when I considered the whole “Batman” vs “Bruce Wayne” argument. My gut told me to swap protagonist and it took a while for my brain to catch up.
A lot of my writing is my brain trying to figure out what my gut is telling me. I can’t rely on gut alone, it only has a piece of the solution. It needs my brain to make sense of it and then logically solve the puzzle.
I used to feel bad if I spent time thinking. Mostly, because thinking looks very similar to procrastination. Even now it’s difficult to tell one from the other. Sometimes it’s a bit of both. But time and time again, when it’s turned out to be actual thinking, giving my back brain time to churn these things over has been the right call.
So as a result, I’m willing to take the risk that it’s procrastination. As much as I want to be cracking on with this draft, developing schedules, and being productive… I have to balance that with the knowledge of how my brain works.
This feels like the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle that will make the entire story fall in place. It’s frustrating but then that’s writing and not all of it is done on the page.
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