Monday, May 25, 2009

Status -- May 25, 2009

Made good headway over the long weekend. I had a six-chapter sequence that dragged (“The Crumble”). Thought I could put some Band-Aids on it, but that did not work out. So, I have spent a little over a month gutting the section, replacing it with more action and drama and writing a slew of new material. I have just finished the new bits and I’m ready to stitch in some parts of the old that I am keeping.

A couple weeks ago, I went through the old chapters and line-by-line decided what to keep, what to cut and what to re-write. I now have a heavily annotated file to work from to bring things back to the main plot line.

What in this is useful for other writers? Well, I suggest reading your copy in print. It looks different, it reads different. It helped me see some problems, and some strengths in the parts I was reading and it also fueled some good brainstorming on the characters and the world. For me at least, I read hard-copy more like a read books...I will skim spots, I will get drawn in at others and I won’t be as tempted to edit each line and paragraph as I go along.

In reading hardcopy I use simple marks and only take longer notes at chapter breaks. I use a “+” for good pages, a squiggle “~~” for bad pages, “CC” for continuity check if I think I’ve contradicted myself and “OOC” if the characters are behaving or speaking out of character. I will also squiggle or circle words or phrases that need work, but I won’t rework them in hardcopy.

For this revision, I also x’ed out parts to be cut, and used “A” for adapt (as in take this part and rework to fit the new middle) and “K” for keep as is.

Also sent in the next couple chapters to the writing group here in town. Curious to see what they think.

This puts me about 2/3 through this draft, with 1 more draft and a few weeks of clean up before it is ready for prime time. Not sure that I will get there by August, in fact I suspect it will be later but I will press on none the less.

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