Despite production being cancelled on my web series pilot, one of my jobs being put on hold indefinitely, and another of my jobs not having any shifts for me, I’ve been finding myself with hours of work each day I’ve been at home social distancing. I usually finish up around 3 to 4 and that’s when I delve into a dance party, or a Netflix marathon, or something else. Today I wanted to get back into my novel, SC as you guys know it, which I haven’t touched since reaching 60k on New Years day. The web series kept me busy and I haven’t had the time until now, and I’d been itching to get back into it for a while.
There’s just one problem; I call it the Bridge Problem. See, my goal on New Years day was to reach 60k and I achieved that, but I didn’t leave the story at a great place. I had just written this scene that took place on a bridge. I actually loved this scene. It developed the relationship between my protagonist and antagonist in a way I didn’t see coming, it developed the characters themselves and showed glimpses of them I either hadn’t seen in years or never before in the decade I’ve been writing them, it served a key plot point and complicated the story in an intriguing way. It was everything you’d want in a good scene.
However, this pivotal scene took place on a bridge. It wasn’t a very long bridge, maybe 20 feet across, and wide enough for a car lane in each direction and a narrow sidewalk on each side. The barriers were three feet tall. The bridge connected roads so that cars could drive over the rushing white waters of the river far below. Everything important about this scene happened around this bridge. And then I wrote another two thousand words.
Later, when I went to take a look at this bridge on google maps (because SC takes place in a real place) I realized the bridge was a lot different.
I’d gotten nearly everything wrong. The bridge was much longer, much wider, much lower, much busier, the barriers much higher, the river much bigger and much calmer. The scene I’d written was impossible to have taken place on this bridge. I realized this, and then closed the document and didn’t look at it again for months.
So that was the state of the manuscript when I opened it today.
So what do I do? Do I go back and try to find a way to change it without changing too much of what’s been written around it? Do I leave it alone for my future self to worry about when editing and hope it doesn’t change too much of the story I’m writing? Do I ignore the real world bridge and leave my story as it is? Or do I delete three thousand words of progress that I was really proud of and try again from the point before they get to the bridge?
Let this be a lesson to you to do proper research in the future. Thankfully I have time while social distancing to figure it out.