Over the past few days I have been beginning to rebuild the lost 1/3 of my novel. So far I have written approximately one paragraph. The words that come are easy; the only problem is that they are so few. Every word I write is written in fear; written in fear of being a replacement of the words that I have lost. What if those words are better? What if they make me forget the ones that no longer exist?
I want to rewrite, I want to rebuild my lost empire. It is instrumental to my emotional/mental well-being that I do recreate this huge part of my novel. If I don’t, months of my life will have become completely redundant. But to me, the process of rewriting seems to be synonymous with the processes of a) accepting, and b) moving on. I don’t know if I am ready for that yet.
Something I’ve noticed – as I struggle between the tug of needing to write and the agony of loss which prevents me from writing – is that the nature of the story has changed completely. Before I lost practically every major plot point in the novel, Katerina (my protagonist) had undergone a vast amount of character development, and was desperate to redeem herself for the sins of her past. I wasn’t very happy when she made this decision, because she is a figment of my imagination, so I should be the one calling the shots. But once she had set off on the road to redemption, I was able to see how it was justifiably the right course of action. Then Ansel (Katerina’s love interest, and so much more) decided he didn’t want to be the character he had been for the entire novel so far, and wanted to have an even darker past, etc, and I thought that that was also a bad decision. Yet I put my faith in my characters, and followed them into what ultimately turned out to be the best story for them.
Since losing every ounce of Katerina’s and Ansel’s character development, though, this has all changed. Katerina doesn’t want to redeem herself anymore. She wants me to go deeper, darker. She doesn’t want redemption. And Ansel? He wants to join her on this path of darkness. Ultimately, this story will be far more intriguing for me to write, but it makes me sad, because it increases the impact of the lost part of the story. I feel like I won’t be rewriting as such, because even though the plot is the same, the characters won’t be. They have changed. It occurs to me now that I am not the only one who has suffered from this loss: my characters have been hurt by it too. Because after all: they are a part of me, and I am a part of them.
The Katerina who yearned for redemption is gone. She has darkened, become more twisted, tormented. I love it, I really love it. Pain is the thread from which I weave my words. But, for her sake, I wanted her to be good again. She’s lost that chance, all because I didn’t have a recent backed up copy of my book. Isn’t life just so fun like that?
The other day, I told my Ethics teacher about what happened with my book, and I said that I felt like I’d lost a part of myself, and that I knew I would rewrite it, that I would recreate what I’d lost, and that that made me feel even more sad, as though by recreating it I had lost it even more. And he said something along the lines of “But isn’t that such an amazing thing? That you do have the power to recreate a whole part of yourself?”
And something about that really reached me in a way that nothing else had – because I forget just how special it is to be a writer, to be able to create worlds, to be able to create them over and over again. I have the power to change, to evolve, to grow, all through these worlds that I create. They mean that I have control over my own fate, my own identity.
Being a writer is everything to me, and being a writer is not a choice. It’s who I am. I create, I make worlds inside my head, I make up people who feel more real to me than actual real people do. And within it all, I store myself. I am as embedded in these stories as they are in me, and that is why I have not truly lost this book, because it will always live on in my mind, and I will write it, I will complete it. It won’t be the same, of course it won’t, but it will reflect me, it will reflect who it has made me become.