When DO You Back Up & Start Over?
I am the queen of writing forward. Okay, I’m the queen of telling other people to do that.
Nobody has ever said I don’t have strong opinions. Or that I don’t share them. So what’s happening? Well, as so often happens when we
spout off share our opinions, life seems to be coming back at me with a “Oh, really?!” And a “Ha!” And, even possibly, a “Neener-neener.”
I’m considering restarting an entirely new draft of my YA historical without having finished off the last.
Not yet, obviously. I’m still working through Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, and I’m still on the character section–haven’t even started the plot section yet. So no decisions today.
But…remember my reasons for going back to the workbook? My WIP was in such a tangle, I felt totally lost. Believe me, I’m not out of those lost woods yet.
I’m hoping to be, and I’m seeing glimpses of light, and I’m realizing all over again what a tangle of bad knots that last draft is. (Not to mention the one before it!) And I’m feeling like the idea of stepping back into that mess makes me cringe. Plus, the ideas I am having–I can’t see how or where they would fit into what I have on the page, even if I do tell myself I’m still just drafting.
Which, obviously, I will be.
So my question to you is: if you’re a forward-moving writer; if you’re someone who–like me–feels that the best thing you can do is finish off a draft and then restart…when do you break that “rule?”
When do you leave the earlier mess in a lump, without writing a last page, and start over? When do you let yourself start fresh?
And how has that worked for you?
Advice and words of experience welcome!