Okay, Woodbury Avenue is “finished.” Sort of. For more about the actual story, click here. But for more about the process, then just keep reading.
When it comes to writing, what I just did was the easiest part – writing a first draft. That’s easy for a few reasons. First, because it’s new, and that’s fun, like meeting someone new or watching a movie for the first time, or reading the first book of a series. New is usually fun. Second, it’s easy because it allows me to feel like I’m finished, but I’m really not. Third, it allows excuses. Even if something sucks, I can always say, “Yeah, but it’s only a first draft. I can fix that.”
Here are a few things that might be interesting to know about how the first draft turned out compared to how it was originally going to be:
1. There was no John or Jack until the chapters they appeared in. Was kind of a spontaneous thing.
2. Lilly was not supposed to be a ghost until that chapter in the garage. Originally, Lilly was a real child and Carrie helped him pick her up from the street during the rain. It was supposed to be a seduction scene in which Carrie saw a tender side of Jay, but Jay was only thinking lustfully about Carrie, who was going to be in a wet, revealing shirt from the rain. That’s when I had the idea for Lilly to be a ghost, and it mainly happened because of the reactions. I, and others, didn’t really want Jay to actually be a pedophile, as the scene made it appear. But I didn’t want him to be perceived as one. Thus, she became a ghost, and whatever happened was intentionally left unclear.
Also, about Lilly, she is “real.” What I mean by that is there is a real girl, don’t know her name, who rides by my house on a scooter daily. She’s got the brightest, blondest, raggiest hair that flows behind her. And she rides by whether it’s raining or not. I just pray that at no time in her life does she ever find out what she inspired. When I began the first draft, I didn’t really plan on her, but she rode by as I was typing, so I dropped her in, and it went where it went from there.
3. The original ending, the very last paragraph, was going to have Carrie and Steve leaving their house to go to a baseball game, just as the first chapter. And in the first chapter here, Carrie ran back inside for something, Steve waited impatiently, and then Carrie reappeared, but we didn’t really see a difference. But in the last chapter, I was going to have Carrie leave the house, Steve waiting again, and then a new guy was moving in. Carrie was going to see the new guy, run back inside, and come out again with a much shorter skirt. The purpose of that was to show us that Jay’s obsession with Carrie was partly what Carrie was going for, showing off for the new guy with a shorter skirt.
4. To link back to the previous point, Jay originally did not have such deep psychological issues. He was going to start off as just a semi-normal guy with a little OCD. Then, Carrie was going to continuously present herself, as was Jenn, in revealing things, which would then fuel Jay’s obsession with them. That does not mean I am trying to suggest that women who wear revealing things are “asking for it.” No, no, not at all was that going to be in my thoughts. It was more about a guy who couldn’t control himself. But then I wanted him to have deeper issues, so that there was no mistaking whose fault anything was. It needed to be purely his own fault with nobody else to blame, or at least no women to blame.
5. Originally, there was very little of Annie in the story. She was going to be mainly ignored by Jay, and she was also going to be jealous that the other women got so much attention. She was then going to pursue him, and he was going to show very little interest.
As I work on the second draft, or the first revision, I know that I am armed well because of the work of others who very carefully, diligently, and generously gave their free time to help. They gave time with which they could have done anything else. Television, movies, sleeping, exercising, playing games with friends or family, or reading something else that they knew was worth it. Instead, they were reading this story, which they did not know if it was or wasn’t worth it. I know I won’t find everyone as I look through the comments, but my thanks mainly includes in order that I’m finding them while scrolling the comments:
Also, there’s the short blonde who doesn’t have a blog but has been an inspiration, in various ways, since meeting her about 13 years ago. She knows who she is, although she might never see this.
The last time I did this, Scott (Kindred Spirit) was a big help, and I wish he had been able to read this one. He might have liked it.
Not everyone stuck with it from start to finish, but that’s okay. I appreciate that they at least gave it a shot. And if they didn’t stick with it, that’s my fault. Not theirs. I just didn’t write well enough to keep their attention.
As I work on the second draft, I have to consider what else to post on the blog. I could post chapters from previous stories that have gone unseen. I would prefer to post new chapters for a new story, but that would not be easy to write that while revising something else of such depth. I also fear that if I post chapters of previous story, readers will not enjoy it much and might disappear. Woodbury Avenue and Connecting Flight were recently written, and I have become a much better writer in the past year. Other chapters and stories were written more than three years ago, and I know they can’t be written as well as recent things, and I don’t want to be too far below anyone’s expectations. That seems like patting myself on the back, and it is, but it was done because of the kind words that many of you have offered repeatedly.
In the meantime, please – please – please do not hesitate to ask me to read something of yours. I know that I barely read any other blogs, and I’m not happy about that, but I can’t possibly write what I want to write and also read other blogs regularly. That’s why I suggest that you just give me a link to what you want me to read and comment on, and I gladly will do so. Or, like a few others, email it. That works too.
Okay, so time to take all these 29 chapters off the blog. When I have revisions, I will let you know. Thanks again and again for your invaluable time, attention, and assistance. Be back soon. I hope.