I know I’ve said a million times that you shouldn’t go back and re-write until you’re finished…but, rules are made to be broken.
The “original” draft of Chapter 11 moved things along at what I thought was too quick a pace. There was too much pluperfect recap in the first two pages or so that just felt rushed, to me; an “info dump,” of sorts. So, while this does not change anything that happens in the chapters following, and while it may very well end up hitting the floor when I do my first big edit (in which I’ll likely cut about 10-15% of text), I’ll at least have gotten the words down.
The sofa wasn’t very cosy – it was too short for him to stretch out properly, for one thing – but it was a hundred times better than the chairs in the CCU lounge or in Amber’s room, which were barely comfortable enough for sitting, let alone dozing. And it was hours closer than his own bed, to which he wasn’t quite ready to retreat, yet, with Amber still alone at hospital. Still, he managed to drift into a fitful sort-of sleep, waking just past six with a crick in his legs and a rotten-tasting dryness in his mouth.
Stumbling to the bathroom, he managed to find a bottle of mouthwash and freshened up a bit with that. He washed his face, too, pausing to take note of the dark circles under his reddened eyes, and the uneven two-day growth of beard on his face. He smelled of nervous sweat and musk, as well, but there was little to be done about that, beyond a cursory wash of pits and appendages at the sink.
As shit as he looked, though, and as shit as he felt, he knew that it wasn’t anything compared to what was waiting for Amber. And it was for that reason more than any other that he frowned at his own ridiculous vanity, swiped the spare keys from the kitchen counter, and jogged back to hospital as quickly as he could do, ignoring the fresh rain that pattered down around him.
Maybe I originally glossed over a lot of the hospital scenes because writing them has been so difficult for me. It means going to a place inside of my memories that I don’t like to visit. Except that the pain and uncertainty in those moments of just waiting, not knowing, can’t be approximated any other way. Not by me, at least.
I don’t enjoy hurting these characters, who are such a part of myself. But through pain, we grow. And Ross needs to grow, if he’s going to be fearless.
Have you ever relived a painful part of your past, to get more in touch with the heart of your story?
Oh look, Ross’s beard, just as I first imagined him! 😀 And seriously, what happened to Amber?
Your descriptions of being crunched into an uncomfortable sofa and just the nasty feeling of not being fresh was so spot on that I actually tasted the rottenness of not having a fresh breath. I’m so used to just describing that feeling as “nasty” or “blargh,” so to finally have someone articulate it in a way that makes sense beyond “blargh” is kind of nice.
I’ve never really revisited old, painful memories for writing, but if I’m day dreaming and I happen to feel in a gloomy sort of mood, I sometimes pick out past events and incorporate the feeling into the day dream, and then sometimes it inspires something to write. But, by the time I get to writing it, I’m out of my unhappy stage and don’t feel like dwelling back into those feelings, so I never really get to stay in it for too long.
But, if I do end up delving too deeply into those miserable times, I end up crippling myself emotionally and cease to function for a bit.
My idea of Ross with a beard is very un-kempt. 😀 (Amber was in an accident. A large chunk of the story is how they deal with the ramifications of that event.)
Participating in flash fiction has made me much more aware of word count and word choice. I could have gone on for much longer about describing Ross’s feelings, but I think it’s better to just move on, since the extra words really wouldn’t do all that much. But I also like to be a little bit realistic, hence the cottonmouth. 🙂
Getting in touch with old feelings comes from theatre, I guess. Though it does help with the writing, too. I always think that if I can cry over these characters, maybe someone else could do, too.
Thanks for commenting, spooney! I appreciate it.