There’s this story that I’ve worked on for about 2 years, and during this time, there’s been a lot of changes to the plot, which is not a good thing…
A short story should be simple, with a clear plot and it should be easy to grasp and explain to anyone who ask about it. But to achieve this, there must be a clear backstory and beginning, much like a gardener planting his seed:
(…) The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what the seed is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or a mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows (…)
-George R. R. Martin Full Quote
The backstory is the seed, in my mind.
But as you learn to write, you’ll apply what you’ve learned as you learn them, which will result in an entangled mess of subplots and character motivation until it doesn’t make sense anymore – if it ever made sense to begin with.
I tried my darndest to fix the plot, and to give you an idea: the story was 24 pages at on one point; I ended up with 120.
It was then that I finally realised there was no way… It hurt at first, a lot even. I didn’t want to think about how much time I’ve sunk into the story, but as I came to terms with it, I only felt relief.
But my time wasn’t totally wasted for what I’ve begun was the bones of a novel. I abandoned the plot almost completely and salvaged what I could. I used the worldbuilding I’ve already done and expanded upon it.
I’ve now learned not to be lazy and that everything rides on the beginning/backstory, otherwise, the rest won’t make sense. Hence, I spent a week working on the first chapter alone. There’s not going to be any loose end this time around.
We’ll see how it all turns out, in worst case, it’s another learning experience…