I’d thought this was going to be the easy part—writing the part of the novel where the action parallels the action of the existing short story. In fact, it’s turning out to be really hard.
It’s not surprising, now that I think about it. Probably the biggest thing is that I’ve already mined this material for all the good stuff—the best bits got pulled out and used to set up the later action in the novel just the way they had set up the later action in the short story.
The work of taking the material out is minimal. Even the work of replacing it with a quick reminder to the reader that it happened isn’t a big deal.
The big deal is that what’s left behind is a terrible, pointless scene. All the significant action is gone—all the plot development, all the character development—leaving behind little more than transitions. The characters make their way from point A to point B. It’s excruciating to read.
I’ve given up on copying the text and editing it. At the moment I’m doing what one might have done in the days before computers—looking at the old manuscript while typing a fresh draft. Even that isn’t working very well. Probably better would be to just write a fresh outline that covers the necessary plot points and tuck the old text away until I’ve got a new draft. Then I can look over the old draft for any gems that got left out.
I’ll try that tomorrow.