About two months ago, I had a great idea for another novel. I made notes, I outlined, I did all the pre-writing exercises I normally do and then I sat down and started to write. I loved the idea of my protagonist, a five-hundred pound woman who runs a strip club, and I loved the back story, the plot and everything else that went with it.
20,000 words in, I stopped. I didn't like where it was going. So I started over.
20,000 words in to the second attempt, I stopped again. I didn't like where this one was going, either.
Someone once said "It's easier to edit bad writing than a blank page" and I have always said I agree with that. I actually enjoy the editing process. To me, it's the equivalent of dropping an old copper penny into a cup full of Brasso: an opportunity to make it shine. But going back over the 40,000 words I had written, I realized that editing is not always the answer. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is start over. Again.
The problem with my great idea was my protagonist. She is a fascinating character, someone I'd love to hang out with, but the story, it turns out, is not about her. She plays a role, and an important one, no doubt, but it's just not her story.
So instead of trying to edit all those pages, I made a new outline and new notes.
And I started with a blank page.
Last night I hit that 20,000 word mark and reread what I had written. I sat back and smiled. This is the story I wanted to tell.