There were parts of Float that start becoming scenes this morning. The early stage of a draft is always sketching out possibilities, laying in little bits of narrative that are obviously wrong, so that I can later come back and start figuring out the bits that bug me. This character is too passive, getting dominated by another. This scene lacks the kind of narrative spark that will make it interesting to read. All this is goddamn bloody awful, and you should probably do something better with it.
And I ignore all those things, for as long as possible, ’cause they are a pain in the arse to fix. It involves deleting things, and I do not want to delete things this early in the piece. I do not want to reduce the word-count, when that’s the metric that allows me to measure progress.
And, eventually, I break. I delete something and fix it. Give a character a snarkier line, so they’ve got a bit of an edge. It costs me fifty words or so, but I can make that up, with some focus.
And once that bit is right, it closes down other options. If the character is snarkier here, then they need to be snarkier there. They need to start being snarky in the first scene when they appear, so the snark doesn’t seem like it’s coming out of nowhere.
And, slowly, the problems get solved. Bits and pieces – little scraps of narrative where I try to lock down a beat or a character or a tone – get turned into a scene. There’s a beginning and a middle and a moment of narrative change. There’s a thing I start getting right, whether it’s plot based, or character based, or a scrap of the voice that works.
I may actually get the first quarter of this thing working, right on schedule, this week.
PROGRESS ON FLOAT