Oh, I am the easily amused type.
I will play with the snow on WordPress All. Day Long. Move my cursor back and forth to watch the flake flow change as if buffeted by breezes unseen.
That’s enough alliteration for one day.
I love the annual WordPress Snowfall so much I changed by background to a dark spacey thing to make it show better. Sure, it takes forever to load, but it’s just until January. HUMOR ME.
I am still in the revising doldrums, very soon done. And that’s my testimony about revising today:
DON’T HURRY THE ENDING.
I’ve been three chapters away from finishing this revision for about, oh, six chapters now. How does this happen? Am I futzing around, going in circles because I don’t know how to end the dang book?
Am I fooling around because I have a fear of finishing?
Here’s what has happened: layers.
I’ve discovered several more layers to my main character, which twisted the plot a bit. Which is ramping up the tension as I near the end, and of course, will make the climax sing like an opera.
I admit I’m a little impatient to be finished with this draft so I can be on to something else while it simmers a bit, then start fresh on the third draft. (I do love my own work. *cough*) But I’ve read an awful lot of books with hurried endings. It’s an easy trap to fall into, assuming the reader is as ready to be done with the story as you are.
You may have been working on your novel for a year by the time you get to the end, but your reader has been working on reading it a considerably shorter time.
You’ve got to maintain the same enthusiasm for the story you want the reader to have.
Yes, I am still on my second draft.
No, I’m not stuck. I’m churning out pages like a house a-fire.
My plot has evolved and a lot of my revising has turned into rewriting. In fact today a COOL HUGE TYING-TOGETHER-TWIST has come to me.
How did this miracle happen?
I spent time with my characters.
Character and plot are inseparable–after all, who drives the plot? Your characters BETTER drive the plot. If they don’t, if they are simply victims of an outside force, it’s not a book, it’s a puppet show.
Plot is not a series of occurrences, it’s a story that happens to a particular group of characters because of who they are, where they’ve come from and the choices they make.
Let your characters guide you. They know the way.
Are we all revising like bunnies?
Yeah, I have no clue what that simile means, either. But aren’t they cute?
- First, I printed out all my chapters.
- Then, put together a bunch of note cards with the stuff that happens in my manuscript, chapter by chapter.
That concludes my recap.
Yes, yes, I know I am a sworn pantser. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when only an outline will do. My time is AFTER the first draft.
Bob is in pretty good shape, but there are threads in the beginning of the manuscript I’d forgotten about by the time I got to the end. Miraculously, many of them tie in nicely with later plot points.
I think that’s because I let my subconscious play.
Some ideas didn’t turn out well and were abandoned. When I’m first-drafting I don’t go back and rewrite unless I’m really stuck. I try to keep moving forward in the story, as I tend to ruminate on perfect turns of phrase. Which is ridiculous at a stage when I’m writing whole chunks of manuscript that might be thrown out.
After I write the outline of my first draft AS IS, I can go through and make the choices of threads to keep, threads to drop, threads to connect.
I make sure the plot is logical.
That the subplots ENHANCE the main plot.
Then I write another outline AS IT WILL BE. This is what I’ll work off of for my second draft.
But. There’s one other thing I have to settle on before I start the second draft….
WHICH I’LL TALK ABOUT NEXT WEEK.
Dance, revise, it’s all the same.
It’s finding the rhythm, weaving the patterns. Making art out of good ideas.
Haven’t been around much because of some legitimate reasons and some lazy reasons, but I’m here now, kids. And we’re going taking a ride on the revision train. Let me punch your ticket.
NO NO WE WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.
My tracks might be a little bumpy, but no catastrophic failures are allowed.
I’m going to loosely keep you up to date on what I’m doing, not because I’m such an expert, but because what I do might spark something that tweaks your own process for the better. We’re all learning.
I write in chapters. Not everyone does. I have a couple of critique partners who don’t. (One has a BIG DEAL AGENT NOW.) I need the structure of chapters to keep my plot chunks straight. I also like the ZINGO of dramatic chapter endings that make the reader either turn the page as fast as he can or put the book down and go, “whoa”.
So most of my manuscript has not been printed out. Oh, it’s been backed up on the external hard drive, baby. If you don’t have a big-deal terabyte external hard drive bought for your birthday by your darling children, you should be backing up on a thumb drive or in Dropbox or Google docs or some Cloud of some sort. You can even email your chapters to yourself, the old fashioned way.
As I print out my chapters I remember that–oh yeah–I rewrote some of them, and have three chapter sixes, four chapter twelves…and I curse myself for saving them as, “chap6bob.doc, chap6toobob.doc, chap6imeanitbob.doc”.
At least I saved them all in the same folder. THE SAME FOLDER.
So today I will find the most recently revised rendition of each chapter, print and collate them all together in a physical file.
Because my next step is to go through every chapter and write on an index card what happens in that chapter.