Usually, once I’ve got my outline together, I start writing at the front of the book and work my way right to the end before I get any revisions going. If I jump ahead to the stuff I’m most looking forward to, I generally find I end up having to redo it because ultimately, the context isn’t what I originally thought. And if I were to stop and revise as I went, I’d pretty much spend my whole life repolishing a single Chapter One without ever hitting Chapter Two.
This weekend, though, I went back and began revisions work on Stargazer, despite the fact that I’m about 15K short of the end. I knew a couple of plot arcs had developed in new directions — that happens all the time, and in itself that didn’t worry me. But those new plot elements meant that I had to go back and ask myself about the characters’ motivations, and in a couple of cases, those motivations had changed substantially. I felt like, if I wasn’t in touch with that, any version of the ending I could write would be so flawed that I’d end up having to redo it completely.
So. Saturday morning, I picked up with Chapter One. I didn’t do a full revision, but I straightened things out, refocusing on what I now know is more important. I pretty much worked on that nonstop until Sunday night. (Well, with a few breaks for food and “Singin’ in the Rain,” because there is literally no time when it is not good to stop and watch that movie. I think watching Gene Kelly dance improves your mind, health, spirit, complexion and karma.) And I am so, so glad that I did. Although there are still a few chapters to go, I feel like the story is so much more on-track and has regained its momentum. Or maybe that’s my momentum. Either way, I’m feeling good.