Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rewrites: Phase One - Organization and Structure

There's a lot to do is this round, and we spent 3 weeks (as opposed to the usual 2) on it during the workshop.  Even then I barely touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the organizing I need to do.  I wouldn't be surprised if I spend the next couple of days on it, even going full-tilt.  But that's okay, because it should make everything else that much smoother.

So, this session - as you may have guessed - looks at the overall shape of the novel, the main plot arc and any sub arcs, and calls for making any large-scale changes needed before individual chapters/scenes are fine-tuned.

One of our assignments was to post our first and last scenes, and look for symmetry there, and the ending's resolution hopefully relating to questions raised in the first chapter.

I posted my first chapter (E goes to Kilchurn), and my epilogue (A & E's modern wedding).  Even though they both needed work, I was pleased to see that - even more than I realized - the two "chords" were very much in tune.  When we meet Elspeth in Chapter One, she's in Scotland by herself on what should have been her wedding day.  I try to raise the question of why she's alone and what happened to break off her wedding.  Also the underlying question: WILL she ever marry?  Of course, the closing scene is her (second) wedding to Alec, on the same date but a few years later.  And I can see now that even some of E's other issues in C.1 have been resolved by the Epilogue.  So woo for that.  *g*

Today I spent most of my day working on a timeline for the second draft.  The main meat of the story is the same, but there are some changes that I think will really take it to the "Next Level" and I need to see where they fall.  Also I want the visual to be able to connect subplot arcs and make sure everything wraps up in a consistent way.

When I stalled on that, I decided the way I brainstorm best is just to "say" it - either by talking to someone (usually DH, or whichever innocent bystander is around when I get an idea), or chatting, or blogging, or just writing/typing it out.  So I thought I'd start from scratch and write a rough synopsis of the second draft, incorporating the changes as I went.  If I let it "flow" then all the organizational stuff should sort itself out as I go.

When that's done (hopefully tomorrow) I'll plot it out on the timeline and connect the arcs as planned.  Then I'll be able to see what sections of the MS need to be cut/replaced, which need to be moved around, where to insert lines or tidbits to tie in the new stuff, etc.

Liquid Story Binder has plotting/timelining features that I hope to get set up someday and would probably help with all this, but for now it's easier (for me) to do it longhand and have a physical visual.  I still do all my writing in LSB - love it.

For now, to bed.  Hopefully the last night on our old bed/mattress - our new bedroom suite is supposed to be delivered tomorrow!

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