At long last I have finally finished re-reading my story that I wrote 100 words a day of for a year. As I went along I covered it in notes because, given the way in which I wrote it, there was a lot that needed changing. Now that I have finished re-reading and re-evaluating the story I can see there is still a lot more to do. What I found is that I have tent poles of a story, some bits are already standing and connected, other bits need to be made to fit together with the rest. But mainly I need to flesh it out. The basic plot points will (he said tentatively) stay the same, I have a beginning, middle, and end, and various pieces in between. The details though are very much up for change.
When I first wrote this story I had no idea if I would even make it to the end, or if I did how I would get there. I forced myself every day to write 100 words and try to make sure they carried on from the previous day, and would in turn carry on to the next day.
Now I know where everything is going I can re-draft this story with far more focus and continuity. For instance, the image I had of the central character “the Man” changed very much from the start to the end of my year of writing this story so I am going to re-write him with this in mind. I am now also free of my limit of 100 words a day and so can more fully explore and develop other characters and the voice of the narrator. It means a lot of work, but also a lot of freedom and opportunity. It’s exciting. I go into this re-draft with a rough guide but also the ability to change what I want.
If you want to see what this story was originally you can read it here https://storiesbyadam.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/100-words-a-day/
What follows below is the redraft of the opening.
Thunder illuminated the great plains, and mountains that seemed to be their only boundary that towered before the Man. In the momentary light he saw a village straight ahead, huddled at the feet of the mountains. “So that is where I am headed,” the Man thought to himself.
Purpose always drew him onwards. It guided him without ever telling the Man what would come next. That did not matter. Something always came next, it was the nature of the universe. Now “next” was the village and more importantly, the villagers. He wondered. The village was the first sign of life he had seen in days. Perhaps that was why he had felt the need to walk all the way: it impressed upon him the isolation of the villagers. Why, they might not have even heard the rumours of him, might even greet him warmly as a traveller with news of the wider world. The Man laughed. His experience had taught him better than that. More likely they would have heard a tale or two of him over the years and stretched it into a terrifying legend. No matter, everywhere he went it was the same, and he was sure it would be no different here.
He completed the remaining miles in five steps. There was no use wasting any more time now that he knew where he was headed. The Man entered the village. Without seeing or hearing another soul he felt unwelcome. Lightless windows looked down upon him coldly. Doors remained steadfastly shut. Somewhere a wooden gate was slammed by the wind, creating a sound that feebly competed with the thunder that lit up this part of the universe once more. The Man stood in the centre of the village with his long leather coat blown behind him by the wind and waited for what was next.
To his left a light came on and he turned his head to see an old man standing with a lantern at an open door. The old man’s eyes were wide. Along with his awestruck expression he wore a worn night gown. The two stood looking at each other for a moment, one bent and light, the other tall and dark. The old man beckoned the Man to come into his shack eagerly, and the Man acquiesced without pause that belied his surprise at the welcome.
The Man filled the doorway for a moment before entering. He looked around at a scene of poverty and peacefulness. A single room unadorned by anything that was not necessary: a chair and a table, both wooden of course; on the table was a pewter jug and plate; a straw covered bed was in the corner; various tools hung on the walls. The old man himself was bunched down by a fireplace made of stacked slate, trying nervously to get a fire going as he kept furtively glancing back at the Man. Everything he saw as he surveyed the room appeared worn and used, functional. He thought coldly “every sign of being existed in none, of being lived in.”