Whaddaya know… a couple of days ago I complained about how a story was dying on the page because it was a steaming mess and I sensed that I had to kill one or several core concepts in order to make it work, and today I had one of those wonderful moments where a solution presented itself out of nowhere.
I had three ideas which felt central to the story I wanted to tell, but couldn’t get them to work well together at all. I think I know now which one of them needs to go, but that unfortunately leaves the two that I was having the hardest time meshing. Part of the problem was that I was trying to cram to much into one person’s story arc, and I think the solution is to add another viewpoint character to the story. Keeping the idea but assigning it to someone new seems to be a very workable fix to the problem, and in doing some brainstorming today, also seems to fix a few minor hiccups the novel had. I’m going to give the new ideas a day or two to sit unbothered, then I’ll go over it all again and see if it still makes sense.
Writing inspiration can feel like a dream. I very rarely remember mine, but when I do it’s this very brief, vivid flash of dream-story, and then it vanishes. The odds of me remembering any of it five minutes after I wake up (that once or twice a year when I actually wake up remembering my dream) are almost nil. Once I tried writing down my dream, certain that I had a masterpiece in the making if I could turn it into a story and ten minutes later what I’d written made no sense at all. This flash of insight into my story feels exactly like that – brilliance but tempered with the fear that in the light of normal thinking it will all fall apart. So it goes on the shelf for a bit and if it still makes sense in a couple of days, I’m going to start a fresh outline. Assuming the new idea sticks, it’s going to mean a complete top-to-bottom rewrite. For whatever reason, I thought a restart would bother me more than this, but it feels like the best thing to do for this story, and that never feels like work.