It wasn’t always a Monday, but it was definitely the last two Mondays and for arguments sake shall we say it was the Monday before that too.
During my autumn of disconnection I started writing this story. It just sort of poured out of me one day. When I’m like that I don’t stop it, even when I know that somewhere along the line it’s not quite right. When I was finished I was pretty exhausted but I really liked the beginning and from there on in I liked the plot but not the way I had written it. So, the next day I sat down and rewrote it. It got longer and some of the characters changed their names and became a little more real to me and then I got stuck. Somewhere in that second draft I had deviated from the first draft and I no longer knew how I was going to get to the end – which had been the beginning in the first draft. I scribbled away in the journal. I started working on a poem that had run through the second draft and wondered whether to ditch the story altogether and just produce the poem. I laboured some more over the poem and then it just sort of sat there mulching like a piece of compost, turning into something else.
Then Monday came around again and I sat in front of the computer and wrote something else. This something else was scary and different. My characters were changing again and becoming other people, but that story was still in there somewhere, hiding underneath these characters. I added version three to the mulch of version one and two and left them to warm and mix together.
The next Monday I sat down again and yet another version poured out. I started at half past four and at eleven after many cigarettes, a few glasses of wine and the odd bit of cheese when my stomach had reminded me that it needed filling, the last full stop was added. Now I had four versions and I still wasn’t a hundred percent happy. Each version was a development of the last with a little bit added, a little bit cropped, but where was I going with this.
This Monday, version five came out. Same deal, fuelled by cigarettes and alcohol I knocked out another six thousand words and still there were things that were missing from earlier drafts, but something new had grown, someone new was developed.
On Tuesday I came home and realised something. I sat in front of the computer and summarised each version and this is what I realised. Each time I’ve knocked something out it’s been gradually getting longer. Anne had suggested earlier this year that one of the stories I had written should be lengthened and I had tried and got horrendously lost. So, I had gone back to the safety of 5,000 words, but this one was slipping out of those confines. Each of the five versions adds something to the story, tells me something new about the characters and I suddenly realised this was a bigger story. If each bit of the story is to be given its full justice then 5,000 words just won’t cut it. So I have these five bits of paper with notes scribbled on them, bits I like highlighted, characters who will stay and questions, questions, questions.
So, we’ll see what happens next Monday.