To continue my metaphor of narrative surgery, I’ve been working on the edit a good bit the past couple nights, with a few thousand words added in and a lot of trimming and tweaking in the neighboring scenes. But I hit my first really rough patch, and the patient nearly bled out while I watched.
See, there was this one really good scene leading into another really good scene, and the problem with the two was (is) that there’s a character present in the one who I forgot about when I wrote the other. Upon reflection and review, it makes perfect sense for said character not to be present in scene 2, though I rather like her contributions to scene 1. So, one way or another, the appendix must be removed and I have to explain how I removed it. Her. Gah, metaphors.
So I spent my editing time tonight writing a brief intermediary scene wherein the protagonist clumsily gets rid of her. And man… I just think it’s crap. I mean, it does what it needs to do (patching the continuity hole of having her magically disappear from one scene to the next) but it feels so obvious and heavy-handed in the narrative sense of I just needed to get rid of this character that I fear it will break continuity anyway.
Thus, the new scene, created to bridge a gap between two existing scenes and resolve another item precariously perched on the Editing Pile of Stuff now becomes its very own item on the Pile.
I’m tempering my all-consuming self-abuse and the growing screams of the Howler Monkey of Doubt with the knowledge that it’s okay if it’s not perfect at this stage; it can always be polished and refined in later edits. The important thing for now is to make sure that all the musculature is in place and functioning properly; the skin grafts and, you know, general make-it-look-a-little-less-Frankenstein’s-monster-ish-ness can come later.
But man, that’s one raggedy-looking patch job. Almost like I had a grizzled, musclebound soldier on my table with a horrifically injured arm, and I replaced it with a prosthetic molded from a five-year-old girl. Sure, they’re the same parts, but they damn sure don’t match.
Ugh. Have I mentioned that editing sucks so very much worse than drafting?