The movie running in my head.

I've been seeing this book very cinematically.

I see "Gangster Gothic" as a kind of 1940, 50's, 60''s Noir, mixed with a little Henry James supernatural.

For the first draft, I had the vague notion of if being an action-packed, hard-boiled Noir.

Then I thought of a little supernatural twist, which requires quite a bit of rewriting. The farther into the book I can delay the twist, the more effective it will be. Rather than rewrite, I kept going with the intention of fixing it later.

Then I thought of another way of getting the protagonist in trouble. (Crocodiles!) This required another new beginning. The old beginning is still there, but can now happen later in the book. Again, I didn't try to fix it.

Then I thought of another complication (Crocodiles!), which I thought really completed the book. But I wasn't done with the...oh, hell, I'll just call them Crocodiles. I thought of another Crocodile antagonist. And then, a couple of days ago, I actually thought of another Crocodile antagonist.

That's enough I think to embroil the hero in all kinds of heck.

It would be cool to set this in the 1950's/60's but I think that would doom any chance of it being accepted by a major publisher (not that there is much chance once I added the supernatural elements, no matter how subtle.) Plus, it would be hard to get the lingo and settings right without a lot of research.

But I can still approach the writing with the 60's Noir in mind.

So all the restarts and additions have made a mess of the first 25,000 words. (So much so that I'm thinking next time I write a book I'll reimpose my rule: "No Changes until the First Draft is Done!")

On the other hand, as I always say, I discover plot through writing. So this plot now has plenty of elements that if I can piece them together in the right way will make it a decent book.

So how do I do that?

Keep writing without trying to fix anything? Go back and try to patch it together at least enough to have a framework? Or just start the whole thing over again?

Long ago, I read a How-To book that advised writing a first draft and then throwing it away. Then starting over again from scratch. I always thought this was crazy and extreme and the few times I tried to do that, I quit very quickly.

But it becomes insanely complicated when you have five or six different storylines set down that are contradictory and out of place. It isn't simple knitting all these elements together.

On the other hand, there is now a fully fleshed out movie in my head and I think if I follow that outline it will turn out well. It's only 25,000 words. Now that I know where the story is heading I could probably get that down on paper in two weeks.

I wouldn't even think to do this if I hadn't felt that the last two thrillers I wrote got off to meandering starts that I was never able to completely fix. So rather than finish the book and try to fix it, I'm seriously considering just starting over. 

Then I can take the original story and see if there are lines of dialogue or description or whatever and filter them back into the story.

It's a crazy idea, but I may try it, because that movie is pretty vivid and I feel like I need to do the book that way.