A couple years back I got hooked on that TLC show Property Ladder. We were in Quebec City and it was on one of the few non-French TV channels. I was intrigued because as a journalist, "flipping" property wasn't exactly something law-abiding people did. But on this show, regular folks buy a house and then proceed to destroy it to create something that maybe someone else will buy and they'll make a huge profit.
Granted, the show has been in reruns as of late, since the real estate market just isn't producing the type of profit it used to, but I'm still intrigued. People tear apart things that seem perfectly sound: a nicely tiled shower, a great kitchen floor, a stone fireplace. All with the idea that they can make it better, make it more appealing to a buyer and they can make more money. Problem is, usually they end up spending more of their own money because ripping the house apart ends up in discovering even more problems: mostly structural.
This is what's happened with my manuscript. I had 160 solid pages. So I thought. I was moving along at a nice clip, my five page a day regimen was on track. I'd have the first draft done before Bouchercon.
But then I decided to "flip" it.
I went back to the beginning and began to re-read. I do that sometimes, just to make sure I'm being consistent, that I haven't gone too far off the track. And while I'm not sure I was that far off, I started making changes. They were small at first, like ripping out some old kitchen cabinets or removing wallpaper with a U.S. bicentennial theme. Things that needed to be done. But then it got a little worse. "This" couldn't possibly happen after "that," so "this" and "that changed places, and then "this" went away altogether and "that" ended up in a totally different place. That's when the building inspector showed up and said the renovations "failed." Back to the drawing board. A little more action here, a little less there, some witty banter, and then it started to come together again.
It's better now. I'm not ready to have my open house, but I am seeing a marked improvement. I'm back to 160 pages, although now I know I'll be taking my laptop to Indianapolis so I can at least write on the plane. I've gone over my deadline, I've made that extra mortgage payment, but I think it'll still make a profit in the end. Figuratively, of course.
If you're a writer, do you do this? Do you decide halfway through that you have to flip your plot?
And if you're a reader, have you ever read a book that should've been flipped?