THIS IS MORE within the realms of short story writing, but can apply to novels too. Sometimes I have a great idea for a story, one of those thunderbolts that gets me excited to put fingers to keyboard, you know the ones? – where you think of a beautiful twist and the story is there, like a movie in the mind, from start to finish.
Ocassionally, that story pours out in a frenzied session of laptop abuse, leaving me entirely satisfied with the end result. Quite frequently though, that doesn’t happen. I can’t explain it. I doubt a room full of scientists would be able to elucidate it, beyond registering some neurons firing on a screen and scratching their heads. For whatever reason, that essential skeleton that the story needs to hang from is there; the plot, the twist, but, the end result is Frankesnteinian, with skin hanging loosely, body parts sewn on in the wrong place, and most importantly, the heart is there, but somehow on the wrong side, beating weakly if at all.
As frustrating as that is, in the universe of fiction, there are no words which cannot be replaced or erased. But if the story doesn’t have that organic, richness that you were hoping for? What’s the solution? Editing. If the idea is good enough to get excited about, and doesn’t come to life, just kill it and resurect it, until you like it. Don’t give up on a great idea: do put on the rubber gloves and report to the operating theatre. Let the story breathe, come back to it. Still not happy? Do the same again. Work on another project. Somewhere in the brain that original story is still circulating, waiting to be released. Ultimately, the end result might not be your favourite story ever, or even your best, but you gave it a chance. And the beautiful thing about this writing game, is that whatever you create can ALWAYS be altered, or, used in a different way, it’s always going to be there should you return to it providing your computer, USB sticks, external harddrive, and Cloud haven’t corrupted.