Not the way it’s set out to do the thing, but that’s life – I tend to be a bit of a rebel anyway, so I saw the ‘Name Three Things‘ and because of my issues earlier today, I put it to myself with my own question: What Three Things Can I Do With It Now?
‘It‘ being the story that I’ve just finished the first draft of the second rewrite – the Horse Story, a thriller set in country Victoria, Australia.
Some background – when I ‘finish’ a story, I go out and look around to see what’s out there (in the category/genre), how many are similar or close to the premise; you know, stuff like that. Sometimes there’s one or two, sometimes none (I wonder if this is a good thing or bad), sometimes there might be a discussion on the basic underlying idea/theme/notion/premise. This time was different. I got a shock. I really did.
So many (seventeen within a few minutes of searching and skimming) with the Same Premise. It might be okay if the idea was similar because the style and setting and characters can round it out to be different enough. The notion or theme is a bit wishy-washy anyway so I wouldn’t normally worry too much about it … but the underlying Premise? That’s the big thing in a story (for a writer it’s the big thing).
Oh, I know – those musae get out and about and pop their little ideas into as many heads as they can, and you gotta grab the idea and fly before too many others get aboard that idea train … but Seventeen?
Then I saw the three things post … and my mind wandered off onto a lost path and came up with a way to discover a new direction; three postulations for what to do with the story now, so I could:
- Forget it. Go on to the next story. Walk away, head down, kicking the biggest rocks and blueing up the grey day for not checking Before writing the first draft (one answer to this is that the story always changes in the writing so I wouldn’t have had an idea of what the final thing would become – it just is what it is).
- Don’t think about it until after the first draft of the next story is at ‘the end’ and then come back and reconsider, recheck how many there are – and how good they are (and maybe where they’re set). I might also feel better by then.
- Change at least two of the major points of the premise. This would take a bit of work, but I’ve done it before and sometimes a better story comes of it. However, I already have two other stories where this is happening, not because of what else was out there, but because I wasn’t happy with the whole parcel of the story.
That’s three things.
I’ll come back to it for the decision later, but if you’ve done it, or it happened to you – What Would You Do? What Have You Done?