I blogged a while back about the second time through a plot being the better one. Considering that I'm now on the second version of the new plot for that story and two other second versions of the two different plots I was set on getting straight so I could write them this year (deep breath), I'm now starting to wonder if I'm not driving myself mad.
Yes, this is a post about wondering if I'm doing it right, and it's not even IWSG time. Fear not! I have another post full of neuroses already planned for next Wednesday.
I have a horrible habit of second-guessing myself. I do my best to follow my instincts, especially where writing is concerned, but lately it feels like I'm doing the same thing with every plot I write down. I like it for a while, I work on it a lot, and then one of two things happens: either it falls apart and I shove it aside, or I come up with a different angle that sounds like it will work better. So I write down stuff on this new angle. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
And either way, I'm left staring at a plotting document with a higher word count than some short stories, wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do with it.
It often starts with this vague sense that something about the original plot just doesn't work. For the one I've worked on the most, an interplanar adventure, it's the involvement of Earth. Yes, even with a theoretically infinite multiverse to work with, I'm still telling tales about the home turf. But by taking out that element, by giving the big bad (who's played by Benedict Cumberbatch in my head) a different goal, the story takes on a remarkably different set of stakes. It becomes more about saving someone special from being horribly used, and less about saving the old homeland.
I think I've mentioned it before that far too many of my plots fall into the 'save the world' trap. I have to actively work to prevent this. That's why I took down a page and a half of re-plotting notes tonight, because I know the story will work better if it's smaller and more personal. Taking that step was a huge difference between the plots of SKYBORNE and THE ACCIDENTAL WARLOCK. And I know the latter book is better for it.
What will come of this? I don't know. But I do know this: I have to do the courier route for work tomorrow, which means I get about three hours of doing little but driving. I get some of my best story ideas when what I'm doing doesn't require my mind's full attention. (Which explains why I get so many good ideas in the shower.) So now that I have a half-formed re-plotting in my head, tomorrow I'll have plenty of time to flesh it out.
As for the rest of it, the frustration has put me into "Screw it, let's go play WoW" mode, so I'm off to set some pixels on fire. Grr. Arg.