I recently finished the rough draft of my crime thriller, Goldfish on the mountain. As I was going back and separating out the chapter, making some minor edits along the way and generally cleaning up the formatting to make the editing process easier on me, I realized something. This book, the story as it developed, is not the same story I set out to write. I can see there are still traces of the story I wanted to tell but it, well to be honest got away from me.
I am hopeful that as I begin the editing process I will start to picture in my mind the story as it unfolds. Then I will try to compare this to what I had originally conceptualized to try and reconcile the two, if at all possible. I understand all of this is going to be a tremendous undertaking. In a way I kind of feel like I might have wrapped it up a little early in an attempt to just get it done so I could move on to the next phase. This is fine as I can try to fix things as I go along, rewriting what needs to be, cleaning up and even throwing out the stuff that doesn’t serve the story.
The real issue though is just that, the story. I don’t know who the main character is anymore. As it is written it’s not making much sense. I know how I wanted to do it originally. But as things developed I realized there wasn’t an easy way to do that without really stretching the imagination so I chucked it mid-way and let the story take a different path.
Now as I look at it I am trying to decide if I made a mistake in diverting away from the original intention to go towards a safer type of story? I suppose there is a way I could make it work if I take the time to dig in and change who the focus is of the story. In a way I was letting Fargo get in my mind and I wasn’t quite able to separate myself from that as it was partial inspiration for the story. In the end I have to decide if I want to take the story in a darker, more focused, direction or if I want to explore the depths of this mans despair. I realize one thing is clear, I have over used a couple of tropes I told myself to avoid. I need to fix that.
As it stands even if the grammar and spelling mistakes were fixed, as a reader I wouldn’t get too into this story. I need to spend a lot of time in the second draft making sure I really clean it up.
Right now I am in the mind set that I want to walk away. I know that isn’t in my best interest so what I am trying to do is find inspiration to reignite the spark that originally inspired the concept in the first place. It’s not the best example but I’ve been watching a lot of Psych and that has me getting back into the murder mystery mindset. But, the thing is there is no mystery. I flat out identify the killer up front and the purpose of the book originally was to explore how a person could turn evil. I don’t do a good job with that. I have a few flashbacks that were meant to set the stage but they come off more as heavy handed than insightful. I need to figure this out.
I will take a break from the writing and editing for now and finish up the formatting of the chapters to prepare for the rewrite process. In the meantime I think I need to watch a few actually good thrillers to see if I can remember what it was I set out to do.