Perseverance - I've needed a lot of it this week, writing wise. I've re-written the same scene again and again and again. And this is before I've even thought abut sending my MS to agents etc. It is the crucial end scene (with only the tie up loose ends ones still left) and I knew what I wanted to happen but it just wasn't going how I intended it to. The Hunter's Companion has already been a complete manuscript but after some changes I made earlier in the script I knew I needed the ending needed to be altered.
Originally Regan was given a choice - she could sacrifice herself and save someone she loved or be the cause of their death. I realised this wasn't enough of a dilemma, of course she would sacrifice herself. So I decided to give her the choice between two people she loved - she had to choose which to save and who to let die. Much better, more angsty and how the hell do you choose between two people you love?
So fine, I knew the choice she would make and carried on writing. Then once that was dealt with I realised that the consequences were different, the players were in different places emotionally than they had been in the original draft. Added to that I'd taken away Regan's motivation for behaving, no-one else was getting out now, why didn't she just kick off, create merry hell and die guns blazing, it wasn't as if she was going to survive anyway? This wasn't how I wanted the end to go, so I had to create new reasons for her to behave, new reasons for her to still be the sacrifice.
So I wrote - draft after draft. The first she was too weak. The second too passive. The third wasn't right, the fourth, the fifth...well you get the idea. Finally I think I have cracked it, I'm happy (for now) and can move on to the next chapter. But it got me thinking about how simple this writing malarkey seems and how complicated it actually is. You read a fabulous book and think how clever and lucky that author is. You're convinced that they had a story idea, sat down started writing and then, voilà, perfect copy. Now I know this isn't the case - I read enough writer's blogs, yet still, when you're sitting at your computer churning out crap it can feel very lonely and as though you are the only person who seems unable to string two words together.
My advice - check your social media, have a drink, then get back to it. If you believe in your story - and if you've got to the ending it would strongly suggest that you do - then keep going. I scribbled ideas on notepads, asked myself questions about the scene - hell I even sketched a picture to help me figure out how to execute one of the plot points, and I can't draw! Just keep going, you created this world, these people, this situation so you sure as hell can figure out how to resolve it. Perseverance, it's number one in a writers tool kit.