Drafting – Opportunities
I find it particularly difficult in redrafting to remain open to opportunities, and increasingly so the more times I’ve written though a passage. On the second or third draft, it’s still relatively easy for me to crack open a passage, add and remove text, and insert whole scenes. But once I’ve done four or five drafts, it begins to feel like the tracks are laid and it becomes harder to reimagine the piece, and especially the opportunities within. I often catch myself on autopilot in redrafts, simply retyping and noodling with phrasing, rather than redrafting in any real way.
I mentioned in a previous post that I had figured out what I did not want in an added scene between Foster and Annabel–which was good to know–but I hadn’t until this morning figured out what I did want in that scene. I was trying to sort through a number of problems, including the general issue of the relationship developing too quickly and Annabel sharing a very personal piece of her past too easily. Beyond that, I also have a chapter immediately following that goes back to Foster’s childhood and revisits the death of his mother, and there was no logic in the story as to why this chapter is there. It was written as a piece of back story originally, and I was considering cutting it from the current draft.
I think now, though, that I’ve provided myself an opportunity in adding this scene that will address these multiple problems. Foster is by far more impulsive and open that Annabel, and if in the added scene he shares something about the death of his mother–and he can surprise himself with his openness even–then it deepens the relationship in a meaningful way, makes Annabel’s subsequent revelations a measured reciprocation rather than a spontaneous opening up, and also provides the story some logic for circling back to revisit this episode in Foster’s life. It’s an unusual moment in a redraft when I am able to solve multiple issues like this and make substantive improvements. I’d like to find ways to make myself more open to these opportunities.