In this rewrite of my novel, Weaving Winter, I’ve been focusing a lot on paring the story down to what it’s really meant to be.
I’ve cut locations, erased plot lines, even banished some of the faithful characters who had managed to survive previous drafts.
I’m really pleased with where the story is going.
I feel like the tale is flowing in the direction I want it to, in a steady stream and not a delta of little creeks tangling around each other and trickling away as I wander my way through my outline like someone lost in an unfamiliar wilderness.
Of course, my manuscript still needs work, but I feel the final shape of it as I write now, which I think is something I haven’t felt before with this story.
I’ve always been searching for the right answer and finding little pieces of the puzzle, but not the keystone to make the whole story hang together and mean something.
The new shape of the story feels amazing, but…
Sometimes I can’t help but think of those other versions, the paths now not taken.
The ones I wrote and finished and then consigned to the Drawer of Darkness, never more to see the light of day.
Even though I chose not to move forward with them, those stories were complete. My characters, people I now know so well, lived out their lives in them and made decisions and met fates, that those lives mattered to them and to me.
Sometimes I like to think that those stories still exist as well–somehow side by side with the current one–and those choices and that history are still playing out somewhere.
Perhaps in a sort of alternate universe of unfinished stories, where they are not gone, but simply wait for their turn in another tale.
What about you? Do you ever muse about your character’s alternate universes? Or what might happen to them when you aren’t reading the book? Tell me in the comments!
Also, if this idea intrigues you, I suggest you check out Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.