I'm sure you've all heard this puzzling question: Which came first? The chicken or the egg? If you're silly (and stubborn) like I am, then you know that this innocent question can devour mountains of time as you try to sway your audience to your point of view.
As I struggle with my next writing step, I can't help but think about a similar question. Which comes first? A great story or the craft of knowing how to write well?
I believe I have a good story. Although what aspiring writer would say otherwise? I have been typing away, plunking down words for my story and I'm making progress. Slow progress in my opinion but progress nonetheless. Out of nowhere I think of this brilliant sub-plot that will add conflict, intense action, romance and it will help me avoid the "saggy middle" syndrome. Which if I'm honest, is where I was headed.
However, using my wonderful new plot requires that I go back and rewrite almost all of what I have already written. I am one of those people that loves to see the word count on the bottom of my screen climb higher and higher. Starting my story over and completely depleting my word count is very hard for me to commit to. And yet I know I need to make the changes so that my story is as good as it can possibly be.
Which brings me to my next question. Would knowing how to tackle this rewrite make it any easier? I've heard that you're not supposed to do rewrites until you're finished with a first draft. Do I "waste" my time writing a story that I'm ultimately going to change or do I stop now and fix it? I'm sure I can find these answers in the handful of writing books that I recently purchased but I seem to be three chapters in on each one of them and getting nowhere fast.
So here I sit. Staring at my computer screen and completely unsure of where to go next. Do I read all of my books first so I know how to proceed? Do I keep writing and edit later? Do I start over? Do I give up entirely and do laundry?
I'm sure there are many out there that say a good story is the most important element for a writer but at the moment, I'm wishing I had years of experience and know-how.
Which do you believe is the most important: the craft or a good story? Which is easier to overcome?