"Amongst the rusting towers of Overthink, the insidious creature waited..."
For the last three months I've been working on my submission for the upcoming Steampunk Shakespeare anthology, 'The Omnibus of Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Iambic Pentatetrameter'.
I've written, edited it, re-edited it. I've sent it to friends and family; English professors-in-waiting to penny bag hawkers. The feedback's been mostly positive, some of it extremely detailed, and I've made great progress. Seems I'm not the only one who always wondered about the motivations of Don John - or should I say, John Mendici, a cautionary example to those who would willfully oppose his brother, the mafioso Don Pietro. Yet still I didn't feel something was quite right, no matter how much I edited it.
You got it. I had fallen into the trap. The dreaded Beast of Overthink had me in its clutches.
Then this morning, I found the solution. I didn't realise it was one at first. When I re-read the guidelines for submission and noticed the words "short introductory letter", I was more worried about how the heck I was going to fit it in before the deadline (now 30th July at 12am - phew!).
Then I realised what a gift this was.
Over the last few days, I'd worried about whether my story was coherent enough. Would John have really acted this way at that point? Had I made the background plot too complicated? Did the hero's emotional journey had the right number of crossroads, or he was just going round in circles?
This was just the opportunity I'd been looking for to make sure that I was going in the right direction. So, once I've written this blog post, I'm going to make a start on the introductory letter, and then we'll see what stays and what will be sent slithering back to the city with its tail between its limbs.
How do you know when you've overthought a story?
What do you do when that happens?