Thursday, November 20, 2008

Eureka!

There are some moments of insight in the writing process which are so astounding, so perfect, as to make the entire business worthwhile.

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog entry lamenting the necessity of sacrificing my bloody and dramatic opening scene. To recap - I had written a scene in which the novel's antagonist is revealed in his true colours: a cruel, dangerous and manipulative character. Later, I decided to write an entire strand of the book from his viewpoint. The problem was that this approach was not compatible with the opening scene: if I show from the outset how he ends up, I drain much of the narrative interest--and the reader's sympathy--from this strand of the book.

This morning, I woke at 4am with the solution--a simple tweak I can implement in half an hour, which allows me to keep the same opening scene at the beginning and still get to tell the villain's story. What's even better is that it improves on the original idea I'd had for his story, and builds in a new and more dramatic payoff for the reader.

Sometimes the most complex problems have the simplest solutions.



4 comments:

Alis said...

I love it when that happens!

Matt Curran said...

4am? Tim, you're making me feel quite lazy...

Tim Stretton said...

Matt - I go to bed early!

The idea woke me up. It wasn't a voluntary decision...

David Isaak said...

Congrats on your brilliant insight. The ideas that wake me up are generally either brilliant, or utterly nonsensical.

That stage where I'm sitting, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and trying to discern whether what woke me was clever or stupid is what passes for drama in my life. Not terribly cinematic, is it?