(If you’re like me) You’re cutting along with a general, vague idea of your storyline, unless you’re one of those type A people who graphs it all out in advance damn you. You let the story float along on the currents, with no precise mapping, no idea where you will make landfall next (hey, most of the time it works for me…), when you pick up the spyglass, only to detect the distant, misty roar of Charybdis up ahead, threatening to take the whole thing down.
What next, then, when something doesn’t work? If it’s only the little bit that you just wrote, you can gently pick it out, as hardened tar from jute…it may not unravel everything. The really painful, difficult situation comes when something POPS into the narrative (you know, that little bit you just wrote) and changes the map completely. You find that you have to go back through everything – do you start over, culling out the bits and pieces that still fit, preserving those parts that are so good they cannot be lost in the wreckage? Or do you haul the thing into the shoals, and effect repair?
Being the recycling soul that I am, I tend to go for the latter maybe it’s just laziness, even though I may read through later on, and find that I missed something…s.
Even worse, though, is when you get underway, only to have the winds leave you, luffing and heading for the shallows, which bristle with rocks – the story founders – there is no remedy- all hands are lost. I have a virtual graveyard of sunken stories that never went anywhere…but of course, they stay, just in case….