5 Keys

Five key points. That’s what I’m focusing on with this next draft of Tallulah. At last I have a plan, a PLAN!

And so forth. I have been unsure of how to start this … well, I’m going to call it the second draft, following the first revision, based on how I feel about my own process and nothing more. In the words of a certain cartoon prince: what else is there?

I love that movie more than is reasonable for a man of my age.

The main thing that I took away from reading through my revised manuscript – which I am calling Draft 1, following the Zero Draft – was that while the overall flow of the story did feel much better, the structure of the sub-plots needed a lot of work. To this end I’ve just quickly made synposes of the main 5 sub-plots, and thankfully they all revolve around character relationships so it’s easy to flesh them out into premises for self-contained narrative arcs.

It’s working well; I’m seeing where the holes are and where focus needs to be tightened by taking each of these relationships and treating it as though it’s an entire story all on its own, which makes me look for ways to get the most out of each premise. Going back to the points I made (or at least tried to make) about originality the other day, I’m taking these premises and using what’s familiar to build a coherent path through the story. I’m just thinking about putting a familiar narrative together, a story that I recognise and feels solid. It’s quite empowering.

The good news is that three of the five sub-plots feel much more solid than I thought they would, but I stopped writing them to write this post instead when I got to the fourth one, as I knew at once that it was The Problem, and it’s been that way from day one. It’s probably to do with how late it is – it’s almost 3:30 a.m. as I write this – and will look better in the morning, but it’s as much a sense of finality as anything else. This particular thorn in my side has been around for so long, and I’m finally forced to face it in all of its lodged, infuriating glory and find a way to resolve this ongoing issue.

It’s so clarifying. I feel lucky that I even thought of doing this; I’ve been wracking my brain all day about how to get started and then it just clicked. And I guess that’s how it happens, and I should be used to it by now. Make an effort in the general direction that you want to go and try some things and, eventually, you’ll stumble upon the solution you’re looking for.

Which means that Draft 3 is officially a-go. By this point I’ve been working on Tallulah for twenty-two months. I’m going to miss it once it’s over, but at the same time I really, really want to move on to something else. I need some variation, and I need the time and energy to devote to it. I do think I’ll keep writing other things on the side while I’m revising, but I crave the freedom to really dig into a new project, get swept up in it again. But I’ve got solidarity and commitment with Tallulah, and while it’s not always exciting – although it’s getting exciting again now – there’s really no substitute for it.

Here we go again.