The Answer Was Already There, in the Text

I had what I would consider a breakthrough day on my novel revisions today. I am almost through with the rough draft – tonight I sat down and counted up the scenes I need to write, and it is essentially four. Knowing me, I will end up writing six or seven, but perhaps not.  I have known for a long time what the end contains in the way of denouement.

My breakthrough was not about the ending. It was about the beginning. I have known, also for a while, that the beginning would need to be rewritten. One particular scene, I knew even when I wrote it, would need to be not merely revised but reimagined, and that was the sex scene that happens early on and is the start, rather than the culmination, of the couple’s journey. The original draft was a little too cerebral–by which I just mean the characters spent too much time thinking–and not desperate enough for the situation.

This morning I was putting off writing any more of the end (right now I can definitely feel myself dragging my feet on writing, now the number of scenes to go fits on one hand) by reviewing the beginning to see if I could get a better grasp on how to revise it.  As I was reading through the first scene from the hero’s perspective, I realized that I had the answer for how to approach the sex scene already written: what the hero fantasizes about doing while they dance, and yet did not do in the original (or revised) version of the scene.

I was dumbfounded to think I hadn’t seen it earlier. My thinking about this case had gotten way too uptight, indeed.  I am dumbfounded now to see where I planted a seed carelessly, without paying the slightest bit of attention to it, only to then find it a full-blown idea when I most needed it.

Now the only question is: do I let the hero reference how he approaches the encounter before it takes place?… 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Answer Was Already There, in the Text

  1. ABE

    “Now the only question is: do I let the hero reference how he approaches the encounter before it takes place?… ”

    Ask HIM.

    IOW, what is consistent with what HE would do or think.

    That’s one of my favorite parts of writing: I get to be someone else for a while, and even though I don’t love them the same (hard to do with children) – so I love each one of them for what part they are of me.

    And I get to use that in their pov. Like acting, only better – because you get it all: actions, thoughts, dialogue – to do as they would.

    So what does HE say?

    • You are absolutely right about letting a character tell me what s/he thinks or wants or would say. My question is editorial. He already told me what he wants to do with her – the editorial question is, do I leave that thought in there and let him act out a fantasy, or move the thought to the moment of action so it is not pre-meditated, or remove it altogether while keeping what he originally fantasized about as how the sex actually goes….

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