marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

the magnetic attraction of old words

It can be annoying.  Plugging along working on a passage, and the words on it assert their precedence.  It can take several shies to persuade the prose to take on new form.

And this is even harder when you have to revise the characters, or the plot, or any part of the deep structure.  These are the events, these are what happened, the old words whine, and you have to haul the story away from them and remold it.  Once or twice, I have remembered an old story and sat down to rewrite the idea from scratch, not even glancing at the old one, but usually the overhaul isn't that radical -- and besides, there is the lure, the thought of all the wordage going to waste when you could revise it. . . which is one of the attractions of old words.

Easier in the outlining stage.  But even there -- I had dropped an outline as going nowhere, and the opening of it came back to me, bright and sparkling.  I started a new outline, but I made the mistake of glancing over the old outline.  I was right.  Once she left her home town the story had gone drab and uninspired and so went nowhere.  But it still had the pull of actually having been written.  Even firmly changing a bit character into a treacherous adviser and having the main character disobey her advice in a fit of pique, thinking she's throwing away well-meant advice, has not quite exorcised the old.

I shall have to see what plowing onward will do.

 

Tags: inspiration, revision
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