Hey, sweet readers.
Either we’ve known each other for awhile or we’re planning on the sticking it out for the long haul, yes? So I might as well be honest with you. I need to tell you three things right now:
1. I’m a pantser, (which you might have known.)
2. But I hate that about myself, (which you probably didn’t know.)
3. I am LAZY. (which, if you’ve been paying attention at all, you definitely knew.)
So, what does a lazy pantser do when she wants to write with an outline but doesn’t actually want to write an outline?
She writes a redux.
It makes perfect sense! You can just take a story you love, change some details to put it in a different setting, or a different universe, or add some aliens, or change someone’s gender, and BAM! Awesome story! Outlined for you! Just write it! SO EASY.
So very very not even close to right.
I’m currently working on a Bible story redux and an Austen redux, and the first thing I’m learning is that the first step in any redux is perhaps the most counterintuitive –
Separate yourself from the story.
This was so, so tough. I’m doing this redux because I love the story. LOVE it. But in order to do this redux right, I had to first tear myself away from making gaga eyes at it so that I could completely critically rip that sucker apart.
These are all issues I’ll be exploring in subsequent posts, but questions like:
- What was the original pacing of the story? How does it need to be changed for a contemporary reading audience?
- Where – and what – are the themes?
- What did the settings, characters, and individual events symbolize and accomplish plot-wise?
- Are there too many characters? Too few? Do I have to change any? How much? Why?
- How do the character triumphs and flaws translate into my new setting and/or plot? Do I need to change any of those?
- How do the character relationships translate into my new setting/plot? Do I need to change any of those?
- What am I trying to communicate with this story, and to what extent does the original story serve that purpose? What needs to be fundamentally the same, and what can I change without ruining that message? What must I change to get that message across to a contemporary audience?
Now that I’m typing this all out, I’m realizing that the question I should have been asking myself when I started these reduxes is not what I wanted to change about the original, and why, but what I could reasonably keep, and why.
(The important part being WHY. I can’t let flaws in the original story and/or how it translates to be an excuse for lazy writing. No deus ex machinas, telling instead of showing, or stock characters allowed.)
In other words? I thought writing a redux would be easier, but it’s actually way, way, way harder.
I guess it’s a good thing I love the story.
What about you, sweet readers? Have you had experiences with reduxes, either reading them, watching them (yay Clueless and Ten Things!) or writing them? Tell us in the comments!