I hate leaving things unfinished. I don’t necessarily mean completing something totally (obviously, haha, don’t look at all those half finished manuscripts), but I generally need to finish a draft or a section of a story before I can comfortably move on. It feels like finishing a line of thought, and to be cut off halfway through to work on something else isn’t something I like to do. Mostly because more often than not it is a real challenge to get back into that story in when jumping in half way through. At least it is for me. I’ll have trouble picking up where I left off from and catching the characters voices’ again or not be confident with the story or the world. Not to even mention the nagging feeling in the back of my head whispering “you need to finish doing that thing” which makes it ridiculously difficult to work on other projects.
Sometimes though, compromise is necessary. This happened to me just last week. It was a tough enough week to begin with, but on top of it I was struggling terribly to finish the first draft of The Fishperer while desperately wanting to start work on the next draft of Through the Black. The ending had deviated from my original plans – big shocker there – and I was not only writing rubbish but hardly writing at all. Finishing that stupid draft felt like an insurmountable task. So I cheated.
Compromised is probably a better word. Either way it doesn’t matter because it worked and I now feel free to focus on my main and most progressed project. I ‘finished’ that first draft with bullet points. I knew vaguely what I wanted to happen, conversations, lines and actions that I wanted to include. So I completely stripped everything back and bullet pointed every moment of every scene that I anticipated writing. This left me with a lot of detail while being able to move swiftly through the scenes. It allowed me to better plan and figure out what I wanted to happen. Before I knew it I had pretty much the last two chapters finished – just without writing it.
It feels like an acceptable compromise right now because I’ve got all the information I wanted, including character quirks and lines, without dragging it out another two months of painful head-to-desk struggle. Of course it’s not a perfect solution and will mean more time in fixing this later but now that The Fishperer is out of the way for now I’ve made some real progress on the next draft of Through the Black, which to me makes it completely worth it.
Compromise is a vital aspect of so many walks of life, yet I still manage to forget about it in my writing. It’s another in that long list of things that I sometimes need to remind myself is okay.