Novelist Craig Nova, himself quoting Robert Graves, is the first person I’ve discovered to so accurately describe what happens when I write. The idea is in there, but to even understand it myself, I end up exploring it from every angle. He writes and rewrites until it feels right (or as right as possible), exploring multiple POVs and producing a stack of manuscript pages in the process. I’m glad I do most of my drafting on the computer, because facing a stack like that would surely leave me depressed.
Today I’ve been trying the opening scene from Cindy’s POV–the only POV I’ve never really thought about. Over the past six years, she’s gone from plot device to mother to stupid mother back to being a plot device before morphing into something resembling Gertrude in Hamlet.
Interestingly, T.S. Eliot said that “Shakespeare’s Hamlet. . . is a play dealing with the effect of a mother’s guilt upon her son.” Never once have I thought what that guilt could do for me, even though I’ve recognized Hamlet as a major influence for a couple months now.
So far it’s been working wonders. I got a thousand words out yesterday and another thousand today, with more to come before the scene’s climax. Maybe part of it has to do with the fact that the climax was never intended to go into the book, even though I’ve dreamed it countless times–from a different POV, of course. So much different now that it’s coming from her.
Nova points out, however, that at some point, you have to stop. Endless permutations will no longer improve your work but will most likely make it worse.
Hard to know when you reach that point, though.