Thursday, 22 March 2012

New tricks for an old dog

Keeping all the threads of a story in your head in the proper place when you're trying to revise and edit can be tricky - a bit like juggling a dozen balls at once. I often find I miss things if I don't do something to cement it into my head, especially in the rewriting process.

So today I decided to do something new. I've been digging deeper into my characters and pulling out their internal motivation, but I'm now on my TENTH draft of this book, and I keep forgetting what I've put in, what I've taken out, and what still has to go in that hasn't made it onto the page yet. Confused? I am.

Anyway, to help myself remember where I've been going with my new, improved conflict, I've reosrted to using the highlighting tool in Word. (Don't you wish they did less eye-popping colours? OneNote has some lovely pastel ones that don't sear my retina quite so badly, but I digress...)

So I started highlighting the key bits:
PINK for my heroine's backstory/internal conflict
BLUE for my hero's backstory/internal conflict
YELLOW for the romantic conflict
GREEN for the moments my hero and heroine connect

Wonderful! Current details now cemented in, old ones forgotten!

Of course, I then went a step further and roped in my trust old plotboard. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) I used my highlightings to make notes on identically-coloured mini post-its attached to each scene card, just so I could remember everything at a glance if I needed to. Yes, I really am that sad.

But as much as this has taken about an hour away from my writing, I know its going to help me as I revise the end of my book. I have a feeling quite a few scenes will need to be rewritten entirely, so knowing where I've been and where I'm going with it all is rather important. Without this process I'd have been lost in the woods again without a torch.

So, what do you do to cement the story in your head? And are you as sad as I am? Please say yes!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Another revisions comparison

Earler this week I said revisions were like unravelling knitting. Now I have decided these revisions are a little more extensive - like remodelling a house.

Move this wall, build that wall there, change where the door is...  Heck, is anything holding the ceiling up?

I'm reminded of the scene in Sleepless in Seattle, where Tom Hanks dicusses working on designing a house and the client keeps wanting to change things and there's a running joke that they can do it but it always involves changing the kitchen cabinets.

ChapterTwo is my kitchen cabinets.

I get eeper into the book (which is way too long, anyway), realise that I could simplify things even further, thereby cutting another chunk of extraneous wordage, but it always seems to involve going back to rewrite chapter two. I am starting to feel I will never get past chapter two, I will never finish these revisions and I will die at my keyboard, my fingers twitching, with this book incomplete.

Okay. Rant over. Feel better now. Back to work. By which, of course, I mean chapter two...

Monday, 12 March 2012

Revisions and knitting

I'm in the middle of revising my current work-in-progress, Snowbound with the Earl. I have decided that revising a book is a bit like unpicking a home-knitted jumper that didn't quite go right. You have to unpick all those threads you wove together to tweak some, cut some out, or add some new ones in, and I'm at the part in the process where I've pulled the book apart, and I'm looking at a mess of spaghetti, thinking, 'How the heck am I going to put that back together? Where do I start?'

Not sure there is any golden rule. You just start. Knit one, purl one. And hope that the end result will not just have arms and a neck hole, but will be stylish and comfy and so much better that than the old one. Sigh. Wish me luck!