Rethinking Stories

Would it be too late to completely re-write Bottom of the Garden?

That’s a stupid question, I know. How could it be too late to re-write a story I haven’t even finished writing? But here’s my thinking (warning: if you know nothing about the plot of this story, none of this is going to make any sense at all. You’re free to leave):

I’m about 5 chapters in to this thing, and finding it ever more and more difficult to stay on target. I keep having to add bits and maneuver around gaping personality holes to make things fit, and it just doesn’t seem to be coming as organically as it should. All of the problems I’m running in to boil down to my central character, Pau, and the fact that he’s at odds with his society from the get-go. I’m having great difficulty justifying his lack of conformity as an 8-year-old, and what’s more, his straight-up rejection of everyone around him doesn’t feel realistic.

This is my new direction with it, possibly. Scratch his childhood, and scratch Yara’s, too. Switch them. Pau starts off devout, and Yara starts off as a wild child. Then they meet and Yara inspires Pau to misbehave, and in the intervening years they swap belief systems, so the rest of the book is about trying to reconcile with one another despite having grown in opposite directions. That way, the central theme can stay focused on the issue of how what you believe in affects your life, rather than getting side-tracked with all this trying to weasel Pau back onto the right track….

Of course, there are a million problems with this approach. Like throwing five chapters out the window. But I suppose it’s better than throwing out six chapters later.

Stories are slippery little buggers, aren’t they?

Speculatively yours,
M.M. Jordahl

“There is no great writing. Only great rewriting.” -Justice Brandeis

1 thought on “Rethinking Stories”

  1. If you can come up with a good arc for Yara becoming devout to complement Pau’s transition into rebellion, then it sounds to me like you just got a better plot. The belief-system-swap is more poignant and complex than simply having their positions clash from the outset.

    …even though ditching five chapters is a bummer. xD Oh no! But you can still harvest things from the old ground, too.

    Slippery little buggers indeed.

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