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Why is it that every scene I write seems to require at least two versions to be even remotely close to what it should be? The first scene in this second draft was fabulous coming out of my pen, really fun when I read through it again, and then fell flat when I came back to it a week later. Fortunately, I figured out how I can step up the creepy factor (dude, it’s a vampire story, it needs to start out at least a little creepy), so that’ll take a serious revision. (Not until after I finish this whole draft, however. I’m not rewriting whole scenes until I hit The End [again].)
My current scene has taken one and a half passes, and I’ve just realized I’ll need another. The first pass was half done, and then I couldn’t quite figure out what to put next, so I stopped writing and went away for a few days. Driving home one day, I figured out that if I rearrange it like so, and have the conversation go like this, then it’ll flow better, and I can get where I need to go. So I wrote it out yesterday, and it was ok, there was a sort of banter between the two characters in the scene–banter much like that I have with my friends, except I think it isn’t as much fun when you’re reading about other people. But it wasn’t right, it didn’t make me feel jazzed. This morning I set my brain on it and realized that there’s too much of the MC saying, “I want X”, and me (the author) responding, “Ok, here ya go!” Bah*.
Which means that either I can’t give the MC what she’s asking for (not without an extra big thorn) … or she doesn’t want what I’m going to give her. I think I have an idea of how to rearrange it so she isn’t getting what she wants, as such, but … I’m not sure it’s all that conflictive**. I want her to end this scene in a particular place, having seen a particular thing, but I’m not sure I’ve figured out how to make that conflicted yet***.
But this still leaves me with the question: Why can’t I ever write the right scene on the first try? Why is it always that right after, or the next day, or several weeks later I realize “Oh, this would be so much better if …”
Or maybe the more important question: Am I going to reach a point where I stop thinking of the better versions, and can just call it finished? I really don’t want to write a third version of this story from scratch. :-/ (Barring another change of MC, I’m not going to. It’ll just be heavy revision. But still.) And I’m tired of knowing that the story as-written is quite different from how it will be in the next draft, so I can’t go back and read the way it’s going to be.
* Kicking puppies. I’m supposed to be kicking puppies. That’s my job.
** It is too a word. See? en.wiktionary.org/wiki/conflictive
*** Which is why I’m not rewriting the scene until the end. For now, it suits me to know that I have a better version in mind (described in my notebook, where I won’t forget it), which I can write later. So if I come up with an even better variation, that’ll get added to the pile of notes, and I’ll only have to rewrite (again) once.