Chapter Thirteen, the dramatic conclusion of On the Second Floor, was supposed to go up this week. It didn't because I realized while I was writing it that I didn't like it.
My writing process typically works like this: first, I get an idea. Once the idea is obtained, the next step is to sit down with pen, paper, and build a setting around that idea. Then, through arcane mysteries known only to druids and amateur writers, I make the idea happen on the page. Once the idea is safely stored in the ink, I wait until update day, whereupon the transcribing/editing phase of the process begins. Sitting down with my manuscript, I type it up on the computer, ruthlessly fussing over punctuation, tense, diction and structure. If all goes well, a reasonably readable short piece finds its way on to the site, and I get to thinking about my next idea.
Well, I've had an idea for how this chapter should go since this whole project began. I developed the idea, by which I mean I idly thought about it every once in a while, in the months since. The problem is, once I had it mostly written down, I no longer liked it. This is not merely self-criticism; the longer I wrote, the more I felt my already dubious craft disintegrate into repetition and tedium. I tried to power through it, but I came to realize that the ending I had conceived was trite, and my attempts to infuse it with emotional weight were hopelessly clumsy.
So I gutted the chapter, keeping a few pages as a springboard, and resolved to think of a better idea. It still adheres to the Big Idea I had at the story's inception, but my new approach is more forthright, and the hope is that it will resolve itself with less melodrama. Forcing a "stunning revelation" into the final scenes of a story is unnatural, and it's an error I really should have seen coming. But I think I have it under control now.
The new, improved Chapter Thirteen should go up on Monday Next, and all will once again be right with the universe.