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? Â 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. Â 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. Â (Not until after I finish this whole draft, however. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â But it wasn’t right, it didn’t make me feel jazzed. Â 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!” Â 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. Â 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**. Â 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? Â 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? Â I really don’t want to write a third version of this story from scratch. Â :-/ Â (Barring another change of MC, I’m not going to. Â It’ll just be heavy revision. Â But still.) Â And I’m tired of Â 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.
*Â Kicking puppies. Â I’m supposed to be kicking puppies. Â That’s my job.
** It is too a word. Â See? en.wiktionary.org/wiki/conflictive
*** Which is why I’m not rewriting the scene until the end. Â 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. Â 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.