If something is going seriously wrong in a rough draft, my process is to type a comment to myself in all caps and then try that bit again. Usually the comment is just “NO” or “NOT QUITE RIGHT” or something equally boring. Or “FUCKING HELL” with varying numbers of exclamation marks. Sometimes though, they get amusing. Here are some of my favorites:
GONNA TRY THIS FROM REN’S POV INSTEAD OF VIK’S, IN THE INTERESTS OF NOT DROWNING IN ANGST.
LET’S TRY THIS PARAGRAPH AGAIN, WITH LESS SUCKING
(After my next attempt at that paragraph) AND NOW LET’S TRY NOT BEING BORING
(I love the rhyming here. I swear it wasn’t deliberate.) FUCKING HELL, SHOW DON’T TELL? DO THESE WORDS RING A FUCKING BELL?
AND THAT SENTENCE NEEDS TAKEN OUT AND SHOT.
COULD THIS SENTENCE GET MORE CONVULUTED, MAYBE? CAN I LEARN TO SPELL CONVOLUTED ON MY FIRST TRY?
I THINK THE PUNCTUATION IN THAT SENTENCE IS PROBABLY CRIMINAL.
WHAT THE HELL AM I EVEN TRYING TO DO HERE?
(Half a line later) OH, I GOT IT NOW!
(Half a paragraph later) NO, I DON’T GOT IT.
(One line later. A line that was just me ranting at myself, for that matter.) OKAY, NOW I’M STARTING THE STORY FOR REAL.
(A sentence and a half later) OKAY, MAYBE I’M NOT. WHY CANNOT I NOT . . . OH, FUCKING HELL! WHY CAN I NOT BRAIN TODAY?
(Two and a half words later) NO, THAT IS A VERY BAD PLACE TO START.
AND THAT PARAGRAPH SAYS “I READ BABYSITTERS’ CLUB BOOKS AT AN IMPRESSIONABLE AGE.” UGH. FIRST DRAFT, LETTING IT STAND. (Jaye, you haven’t seen the one that prompted this or the ones that started with “WHAT THE HELL AM I EVEN TRYING TO DO HERE?” I ended up with, at most, a few useable paragraphs.)
(I just love that I typed this at myself in bolded, italicized capitals.) QUIT BEING DUMB.
FUCK THAT SENTENCE WITH A CHAINSAW.