Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Perfect Scene Strikes Again

When you fall in love with a scene you've written and edited to perfection, a scene that supports the  plot afterwards, it's a deep pleasure and relief-- you know that point, at least, is covered. You know you'll never need to change a word of the limpid, tender moment between those complexly engaged characters. Every note of their connection is correct, emotion flows warmly across the page-- the dialogue shines, reactions ring true, your restraint and skill make each beat and syllable seem not just necessary, but the only possible way to have written them...

 Until you get a new idea. The juggernaut may happen earlier or later than that "finished" part, it may skim the sides of discontinuity or dive deep, but it makes an impact on work you thought was done, with a capital D.

 Now, your new idea sends a shimmer through the thin spots you didn't know how to fix before, and promises to make loose endings tight... except it will completely fuck up your best, sweetest, work so far, the part of your book that made you believe you were onto something here, the part that showed you just how good you were. But with the new changes you need need need to make, it will be confusing/unncessary/just plain stupid.

 You've heard that phrase, kill all your darlings, and thought you knew what it meant, and maybe even had done it easily before, wondering what the fuss was about. Till now. So-- do you try to salvage the best parts and use them elsewhere, cut it completely, or wait and hope you'll find a way to keep it?

 What do you do?

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