Serialised Fiction – Part Seven
OK, this week I was really hoping to put this baby to bed. Bad news is, I couldn’t.
This does have a silver lining though, because it means I have something to write about in this post!
The problem I had was with the final episode. Obviously I had a certain idea about how it was meant to turn out. I had several scenes that needed to be in there, and overall, I had worked out a fairly clever way to tie it right back to the start of the series. So what went wrong?
It just. Didn’t. Work.
I’m sure we’ve all reached that point where we’ve been writing something, and it just. Doesn’t. Work.
How do you deal with it? Well, the first step obviously is to try and rework it. Do another edit, another draft, move things about, flip something on its head, that sort of thing. Sometimes though, it cant be salvaged.
Leave it Alone
Best course of action in these circumstances is to leave it alone for a while. Let it rest, and ruminate on it. You may find some inspiration somewhere down the line. Or it might simply be a case of building up the courage to erase it and start from scratch. Of course, all of this is moot if, like me, you have deadlines to work to. How do you go through this process of leaving it alone when you only have hours, or perhaps a few days, in which to do so, instead of weeks? Well obviously, you have to think on your feet.
However, I haven’t been doing very well at that this week either. For so long I’ve had this idea about how this final episode should end, and I finally get here and I find out it just. Doesn’t. Work.
Changing the Ending
So this is what I have to do. Change the ending. But somehow change it and still incorporate the aforementioned scenes. And tie it all together. And make sure it’s still satisfying. So not only do I have time constraints, I also have story constraints. Under these circumstances, the only advice I could think of was to cut away everything that wasn’t essential. This was a little painful, since I had done many redrafts of this. Reworked it many times. To cut it all away and be left with only a few chunks of writerly flesh…
How to build these into a fully fleshed out episode though? Well, the main issue I had was that the initial idea didn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense in context. This can happen sometimes. When you plan too much, in the actual writing, the plan can change, and when you end up where you want to be, it turns out it isn’t where you ended up. If you see what I mean.
A New Direction
So I made the bold move of shaking it all up. Hell, even introduced a few new characters, and changed the entire storyline. The main problem I had was that there wasn’t any threat, no drama. No point now for the characters to do what they were doing (OK, there was, but it was way too weak). So I needed a new threat, a more direct one. Put one of the characters in danger. Flip something on its head. And in that simple thought, inspiration hit. What I had originally planned was to have the heroes catch one of the bad guys, but now I’ve turned it around, and I have the drama of the episode.
So it doesn’t actually take that much. Only a complete reversal of direction. It can be a handy tool. Even if it doesn’t come to fruition, it can lead you back out of the cul-de-sac of it just. Doesn’t. Work. Back into the inspiration pool.