I was feeling great about revisions until about 7 o'clock last night. I'd put in twelve hours for the day and had moved on to "That Section I Needed to Condense." It was my hope and expectation that I'd finish it before bed so I could move on to the last two items on my list.
And then. I read my new version and discovered that even though it's about two pages shorter than before, it actually feels longer. Somehow, I edited all the tension right out of it.
On the surface, the scene is simple, but it sets up a lot of drama. It shows Seth interacting with all the major players in some capacity. We have the red herring deal with old Whats-his-name, two mini confrontations that will become bigger in the pages to come, an encounter that causes a huge misunderstanding for many of the other characters, which in turn, contributes to every single thing falling apart for our hero.
So, yeah. It's an important set of scenes. And now it sucks.
I never actually had a big problem with it as it was written before. But Agent said this:
The bowling alley scene really seemed to lag for me. It’s the eye of the storm—Seth is now [doing something], but the later issues haven’t come up yet, so it just sort of hangs there. I think you can tighten this and up the pacing a bit to propel us into the final act.
I took a look at it after that and thought, Yeah. I guess I can see that. Seth does spend a long time searching and wondering and stressing.
I made him stop doing that in the new version. And now it's like he's feeling nothing much at all. I'm thinking I should maybe write an entirely new scene. Move it to a new location. Give Seth (and all of those other characters) a better reason for being there. Right now, he finds out pretty quickly that the thing he's there for isn't going to happen and then he has no new goal except to leave.
But what if I'm being too knee-jerky with a major overhaul? Every other change I've suggested to Agent has resulted in him saying, "No, I like the way you have it now. I don't think you need to change it." Maybe he has a particular fondness for the bowling alley itself, just not the length of it. I don't want to make things worse!