Happy New Year! I know I’ve posted more Throwback posts than any other recently, but with Christmas and New Year in the way, it just got too busy and confused. I promise that my next post will be a brand new one. In the meantime, here’s one from April 2013 – I recently reworked the WIP in question into a short story (it was originally meant to be a novel) and don’t recall this mishap at all!
“Where’s the fire?”
It’s a phrase that can be used to mean What’s the hurry? of course, but today I’m going to take it literally.
Yesterday my WIP flew from my fingers onto the screen, running free and wild, as I watched my story taking shape… Until the moment one character noted that the fire had taken hold of part of the building and the firemen were retreating and regrouping.
What was the problem? I hadn’t even hinted at a fire in the previous 2165 words, not a plume of smoke, not a smell, not a single person pointing out that the rescue of two trapped people might be hampered by the extensive heat.
How had I missed something so vital? Erm, I don’t know. I was working from handwritten and typewritten versions, trying to merge them into something slightly different, and this fact kind of got missed off. In another part of the story that I’ve already written, a character mentions that even two days later the smell is still lingering, so you’d have thought I’d have remembered that at least! Except, I wrote that part of the story last week, so maybe not.
My choices are to delete what I’ve got and start again, or slide the fire into the scenes I’ve already written. I’m going to go with the second option, mostly because this is a first-and-a-half draft, and I know it will bear no resemblance to the final section anyway. I am in awe of people who edit as they go and have publishable work at the point they move on the next chapter. Me? No…
When I was at school, I loved technical drawing. If anyone has ever done it, you’ll know you start of with a lot of pencil marks and the page looks like a complete mess of unintelligible lines. Then you flourish your 0.5 black liner and slowly, out of the jumble of pencil, comes a shape that makes sense – a 3D box or, more advanced, the floor plans of a house. That’s what my writing is like, a jumbled mess until ta da!!
So, yes, today I will be squeezing a fire into my chapter, and shattering the zen-like calmness my characters have chosen to adopt!
10 thoughts on “#ThrowbackThursday – Where’s the Fire?”
Hi Annalisa – I can see the challenge … but good for you ensuring that the fire – that sparked your writing has made it into the passages. Technical drawing … wish I could draw – let alone anything else … cheers and all the best for 2017
Technical drawing is all about rulers and set squares and working to the half-millimetre – at one point I thought being an architect would be a really cool job, I designed houses for fun 🙂
At least it was something that could be fixed easily by inserting the fire earlier. Better you catch it than your critique partners, right?
Or worse, a literary magazine editor, an agent, a publisher!
That’s the nice thing about writing: you can always fix it on the rewrite.
And the many rewrites I do after that 🙂
It’s kind of funny to think of the characters just hanging around chillin when there’s a fire. Maybe someday you could work this mistake into a future story – could be creepy too!
Love the header picture on your site. The whole look of this new blog is so stylish.
Ooh yes, very creepy. A Stepford Wives or Midwich Cuckoos vibe?
Thanks – that’s my trusty fountain pen in the picture, the one that’s written most of the first drafts of my books, my notebook, and a pebble from my garden 🙂
Good thing you noticed! Sometimes parts of a story feel so real and obvious to us that we can forget to actually mention them to a reader – at least, I’ve come close to that at times.
That’s true, Patsy – somethings are far too obvious to mention… until you realise they’re not 🙂
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