Y’know one of the best things about putting together a story?
If something doesn’t work, you can change it (and most of the time, the change is for the better).
Most of the details in my western outline seemed pretty solid, and they were transferring nicely to the steady output of pages.
Then I got to the culmination of a big sequence – it involved a shootout. Something seemed out of place. I read the thumbnail sketch of the scene in the outline again.
Wait a minute. Where did the one character get a gun?
A quick check of some previous scenes. There was no opportunity for that happen.
So now I’ve got a choice to make: keep it as written in the outline, or try something different. Keeping it would mean going back and changing several scenes, which could also potentially slow the pace of the story. I opted for something different.
The end result was a shortened scene that retained crucial story and plot points, which gave them more of an impact. I also went with ending the scene ‘bigger’, keeping with the overall tone of the story.
There’s a good chance this will also result in having to rework parts of the big finale, but for now I like the way it plays out. Besides, there’s another chance for a rewrite for the better.
So even though you think your story’s ready to go, chances are more than likely you’re going to reach a point where something has to be changed, fixed, altered or just plain rewritten. Don’t see this as a negative – welcome the opportunity with open arms.
You want each scene to advance the story in the most effective way possible, and now you’ve given yourself the chance to do that.
Ask yourself if this is the best way a scene can be done. If not, what can be changed so it not only does what it’s supposed to, but does it better than your original version?
Then do the same for the next one, then the one after that, until you reach the end.