Jolt, wizzle, twizzle! The sound we hear from speakers when a deejay jigs his fingers across a spinning music disc. We hear it, take it in and keep on dancing.
Whether happy or sad at the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, we — like party dancers — realize we are somehow together on the dance floor, progressing through a tune, though our moves are different. It’s how time works, LIFE works. We all move forward one step at a time. Elation or disappointment may grow or fade. But it won’t change time or agreed-on reality.
We joyfully or gingerly dance together now to a new tune, into a new era.
But what if, in this slowly unrolling or madly dashing life, we got a do-over, or as many do-overs as we wished? If the World itself got do-overs until we were ALL satisfied or nearly so with the way we’d made things turn out? (Prickly side question: Whose way would it be, anyway?)
Crazy, you say. Impossible, you mutter. And completely mad. Time would jerk and jolt back and forth, reality would shift depending on whose do-over was happening, and the consequence of these do-overs would multiply and radiate out like the shockwaves of a nuclear blast.
Now imagine yourself a writer of fiction, a writer of mysteries. Two words: Do-Over Heaven!
I do not imagine. I AM that writer.
Here at last things can turn out as I want. I am the master of people, of settings and of every circumstance imaginable.
For example, in the first 50 pages of my new Pepper Kane mystery, which I plan to complete by May 2017, someone out horseback riding plunges over the edge of a Southern Oregon mesa named Table Rock. In re-reading the section I’ve written, I decide that plunge needs to come later in the book — or perhaps not at all! And I re-outline and rewrite accordingly.
In this new mystery set in the New West, I also have an unhappy 14-year-old girl run away with her boyfriend. When several in my writing group question her age and her mother’s reaction to this situation, all I have to do is change the girl’s age and the mom’s subsequent behavior.
ALL I have to do. Ha! Just go back to the beginning and wrestle with words (easier to grapple with alligators) for the sixth or seventh time! After all, everything must flow, make sense and move forward … together.
See what I mean about a do-over creating a whole new set of circumstances that demand their own particular do-overs? Where does it stop?
Final example: The whole book represents a major do-over. It used to be two separate entities, a long story or novella called “Over the Edge” (see an earlier website blog post of mine) AND the first pages of a sequel book to my 2016 mystery “Saddle Tramps”. Then these two projects begged to be combined into one larger one. Which means I will be more or less up to my armpits in do-overs until May. At least. Don’t forget the final proofreading and approval of changes for my publisher.
Jolt, wizzle, twizzle. And on I dance, as fast as I can!
The result, of course, will be the book tentatively titled, “Final Cut” or “Over the Edge”, finished, and more or less be frozen in time. Out in print, set in stone. No more do-overs.
So yes. I must finally acceot it. I must believe I’ve shaped it as best I could. Which means … I must move forward again, a step at a time, dancing through an exciting new book.
You know what that means: a new record on the player. Do-overs. Times a hundred.
I love my life as an author.