I really, really want to finish a first draft of a novel. I’ve been hammering this thing out for more than ten years (granted, I was very young when I started), but now I want a working first draft DONE.
However, what I dreaded so terribly has come to pass. While transferring my current draft to into Scrivener and whipping some scenes into shape so that they actually line up and give me good material to use in revision, I have uncovered a few story-wrecking flaws. Not just one or even two, but more like three or four if not even more (there are very likely plenty more, and I just haven’t gotten that far yet).
Flaws 1 and 2 center around character motivation. But these motivations are also rooted in the culture of the story’s world as well as the story’s history (hence flaw 3 and 4). These flaws are so problematic, and so critical, that I can’t continue with the story until I have them worked out. They steer the rest of the story, so setting the course now is essential.
So what does a writer do? Give up and write something? Plod onward knowing there are gaping holes? I can’t do either. This story is too important to me for me to simply walk away from. I’d merely walk right back to it. And I can’t continue onward knowing that the flaws are steering the story, and if I’m ever able to fix them, I could wind up throwing out all of the work that came after the flaws. I would essentially be starting over again, with all of that time lost.
So I’m left with no other option but to correct these flaws. However, that isn’t as easy as it sounds. Hence why these are story-wrecking flaws. If it was easy, I’d have fixed them by now and moved on with the story. One might also suggest just sitting on these flaws for a while, letting them stew and perhaps work themselves out. But that isn’t working either. No, these are going to take quite a bit of effort to fix, and I might not be able to do it on my own. Right now, since one of these major flaws deals with the cultures of one of my cities, the natural place to start seems to be in working out precisely what that culture is. For the other flaw, it might also be worth looking into how said culture shaped the history of the city, as well as the world.
Of course, when a writer uncovers such flaws as these, the writer’s self-esteem takes a mighty blow. I might have figured out the underlying problems, and at least some of the research that needs to be done (as well as cold recording of facts in a notebook somewhere–after sitting and hashing out something, anything). But there’s no denying that the task of writing has just quadrupled in difficulty. I know I have to get through it somehow–the question is simply how.
I envy the writers who have it easy. DO any writers have it easy? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has struggled with something as soul-crushing as this.