More revisions, days four and five

January 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm (Writing work)

Day Four:  Is it only day four?  What is going on?  How can this be going so quickly?  HOW DID THIS GET HERE I AM NOT GOOD WITH NOVEL anyway.

Chapter Eight takes a while, but most of that is cutting irrelevant matter.  Character development is fine, but redundant development at the expense of plot less so.  Chapter Nine is one I mostly wrote from scratch in the last draft, after realizing I’d revised everything All Wrong.  That it still holds up is, I think, a good sign.

I even manage to get Chapter Ten revised, and that was one that gave me so much trouble in the last draft.  Exposition chapters are always iffy; in early drafts, my characters kept sitting down for tea and plot-related revelations.  Nice and cozy for them, less so for the plot.

Comments from the MS:
Irrelevant
Use this to intro chapter
Need dialogue beat here (the pace of action and dialogue is something that needles me a lot at this draft)
Cut (repeat x15)
Reconcile with earlier cut (i.e., something happens “again” here, but if the first instance has been cut, there’s no point in “again.”)
No
Clarify where everything is
Cut — remnant of earlier draft (a character remembers something that now never happened)
Build up to revelation — check language vs. previous use
Remove filter (Lots of “he felt X” or “she saw Y” dilutes the immediacy of an action.  Showing the action rather than perception of action usually is better)
Too little time to make that judgment

Day Five: I’m almost half done.

Three more chapters down.  I think I know why I’m moving so quickly, and I know it can’t last; the last few chapters have some serious blocking issues.  Not writer’s block, but theater blocking: who is doing what when and where.  Most important for combat scenes, but I’ll need it for description as well.  These chapters, though, were in pretty good shape the first time around, and so they’re not in need of much change.

I’ve also reached the stage where, if a sentence I’ve marked in need of revision isn’t doing anything, I’m more likely to cut it than fix it.  This is a ruthless approach, but it does streamline quite a bit.

Comments from the MS:
Find and replace [name].  (I choose one that I may still have to change, but it’s better.)
Syntax is wrong
Show what he’s doing and to what
Reconcile with earlier attitude
No nostalgia
Match rhythm of second clause
This should creep her out
Cut entire page; need better sting at end of chapter

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