Oh, god… I had to hack apart this chapter—amputated it completely, in the end—and now my plot is bleeding out. What do I do? Quickly! It’s dying! My poor plot… It needs a new chapter! Maybe a bionic one, to make it “better, stronger, faster”?
I’ve seen plenty of other writers post about rewriting chapters. I know it happens all the time. This, however, is my first experience with things having degenerated so far that attempts at simple repair render my words into a Frankenstein’s monster of patchwork prose so ungainly that an entire chapter can no longer be salvaged.
The worst part is, this is the chapter where the rubber hits the road—my protagonist finally figures out what all of the opposing forces are really up to, what their motivations are, and how she fits into the whole picture. In other words, it’s a crucial chapter. And I just had to chuck the entire thing as scrap.
Why relegate it to the rubbish heap? Well, for starters, half the stuff I need to reveal wasn’t even in the plot in the original draft; peppering it into the existing prose would be excruciating at best. The other half was included in only the sketchiest possible way, and needs to be fleshed out to make any sort of sense. Then there was the flashback scene that ended up being simultaneously redundant and contradictory after revisions to earlier chapters.
So my plot is lying in the gutter, headless. (And this metaphor is getting away from me.) How can I save it? Well, I’m hoping an infusion of new ideas will set it to rights.
Maybe it needs a new character! (Wait; I’ve already got enough random characters…) Maybe it needs a heretofore unnoticed clue! (Hmm… Then I’d have to go back and insert the clue seamlessly in previous chapters, which would make it unsurprising.) Maybe it needs a supernatural intervention! (Like three-plus supernatural “species” aren’t already crowding the story…) Or maybe—just maybe—it needs me to think clearly and logically about how my characters would suss out the problem for themselves.
Now if only I could figure out how to do that before my creative juices clot…