Retcons, retcons and more retcons
Or: why a chaotic first draft is nothing to worry about.
I’ve been having an…interesting time with my WIP lately. Just as I was starting to get my head around the last big change I made to my plotline, a second has come along and reared its head. This change, if anything, will necessitate even more rewriting than the last one did, which is really saying something. Nonetheless, I’m already at the stage where I can’t really imagine my WIP without the change in question. It’s as though my story should have been this way all along and that I’ve only now started to realise it.
Much rewriting, then, is sure to follow.
If my current progress is any indication, more such retcons can be expected before my first draft is finally done with. Each and every one, of course, will make more work for me when I start on the subsequent drafts. At this point, I don’t expect this project to be completely finished until next winter at the very earliest – and that’s assuming that I have my first draft done before the end of this year, as I’m currently predicting. Given that I first started outlining the story almost a year ago, that is…rather slow.
However, I have every reason to believe that my future projects will be a lot faster. And if you’re finding yourself in a similar position, then so should you.
The fact of the matter is that I still don’t have much writing experience. I don’t yet have a feel for what works and what doesn’t where writing novels is concerned – I haven’t been doing this anywhere near long enough for that – and so a smooth first draft can hardly be expected. On the contrary, I think it entirely natural to want to make alterations and improvements as I become more engrossed in the world I’m writing in. I may be making more work for myself in the short term, but I’m sure that the final result will be more than worth it.
As I continue to write, learn and gain experience, my WIPs should start to progress in a much faster and hiccup-free way. In the meantime, I’m just going to embrace the chaos that is the writer’s learning process – and so should everyone else, if they haven’t already.