16,500 words into “Graveyard Shift” and I’m having trouble. It’s a complicated story with a large cast of unrelated characters, who, through a central mystery, are brought together. I have the ending worked out and in first draft, it seems okay, but the more I work on it in second draft, the more trouble I am having with it, and I can’t quite place my finger on it. That’s what’s frustrating.
I added a character in the second draft because I thought the story lacked some necessary motivation and this character adds that motivation. So far, however, I’ve written only one new section. I also want to do some rewrites of sections of at least one of the existing characters, and that makes me nervous. Rewrites tend to mean I am not entirely comfortable with what I have written and 16,000 words (80 manuscript pages) is a lot to invest not to be comfortable.
I think what I am going to do is take the story as I have it, and outline it on paper. I think that will help me tie the threads together the way I want them, and also make sure the story continues to hold the readers interest throughout. I’m not overly concerned because this is really my first attempt at a story of this length and the only way you learn is through practice. But I thought it would be interesting to provide some insights into what a wannabe writer goes through when constructing a story.