Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rewrites: Phase One - Update

8 working days.  7000 words written.  Also quite a few hours spent researching and firming up details, and one evening spent learning Scottish Country Dance (see post below).

I'm not where I wanted to be at this point, but when I put it that way, it still sounds pretty respectab(igg)le!

The 7K was not, unfortunately, story wordage.  But!  I'm glad I wrote it.  I'm still in the "organization" phase of rewrites, the one that establishes the foundation for all my future work.  It's good to have a solid foundation, right?  I think I do, now.

I started off trying to hand-draw a timeline, on which I was going to plot all the major events in the book, and get a nice visual on plot arcs and such.  Unfortunately for me, señora perfectionista over here, I got roadblocked by my absolute necessity to have all the spacing between every event to scale.  That's the point at which I started in on my "revisions synopsis" aka ubersynopsis, phase II.

And it has been a wonderful process.  Everythings laid out nice and neat in summary, with one paragraph per chapter.  I can see at a glance the progression of the story.  I made some decisions about plot changes and wrote those in, and now I can just find the appropriate chapter to add them back to the MS.  It's taken me days, but now I have a clear plan on exactly how to attack this.  Betas should be finding it in their inboxes by this evening, for comment before I really get to the meat of the changes.

Another cool thing I plan to do with it is steal the "storyboarding" (heh, is that a form of torture for writers?) ideas of some others - basically, the color-coding - and go through each paragraph and highlight various events with colors relating to subplots, again so I can have a nice visual of the overall shape and distribution of the story.

In addition to the 6K of ubersynopsis-II, I wrote another 1000 words on the character arc that Elspeth follows.  Through discussion with my fellow workshoppers, I decided that a major character change in her (over the course of the novel) would be her ability to trust.  Her father left the family when her mother was diagnosed with cancer the first time.  Then her mother hid the cancer's recurrence from her and died unexpectedly.  Finally, her fiance cheated on her with her best friend.  Difficulty trusting?  Probably.  SO we at first see her resistant to trusting anyone, even Alec.  But he's all the help she's got, and of course with him being the honorable type she eventually learns to trust him and makes peace with the other people in her past.  Then the universe lets all hell break loose on her and the man she's come to trust and love is captured and sentenced to death...  I'll be sending that out to betas for their opinions as well.

SO.  Where does that leave me?  Getting ready for actual rewrites.  I did a very awesome thing and took my MS to Kinko's (now "FedEx Office" blah) and had it printed up: double-spaced, double-sided, and spiral bound.  It was not cheap.  But sometimes I need to see the physical page to revise things.  (Just wait until my post on revising my first chapter for the workshop - you'll see what I do to hard copy!)  I can't make all my revisions on the page and then transfer to the computer; it would take too much time.  But this way I have a hard copy that I can flip through and annotate, and "see" what I want to do on the page while doing it on the computer.  I will also admit, being the first time I have ever seen the entire MS printed, and being in roughly book form, it gave me a little thrill!  Like, holy crap, I wrote a whole novel, didn't I?  *g*

LSB gives my current MS word count as 99K.  So I have brought it down to under 100K.  And I tend to be a "pruner": as I revise, things will get a lot tighter.  Yes, there is new wordage to be written, but as I do so there will also be a lot coming out.  I think my estimate of 95-99K will be right on the money by the time all is said and done.


Kait Nolan said...

You might find the StorYBook software helpful for organizing. I've tried a whole bunch of programs to simplify life for plotting and outlining and synopsizing and timelining... StoryBook is my favorite. You can find it over at

Jenny said...

Thanks, I'll take a look! I use Liquid Story Binder for most everything, but it never hurts to explore your options! :-)