Choosing My Path

I’m far enough into my revision process that I see some major holes in my story. I also have a much better idea of where I want the story to go. There are some scenes that I still really love, but there are some that I no longer see as useful in moving the plot forward. There are some big rewrites in the future

What I’m struggling with now is how to proceed.  Here are the revisions options I’m considering:

  1. I take everything I’ve learned from this revision and just totally start over with a blank slate. I redraft the whole book from scratch, but with a new and, hopefully, tighter story to tell
  2. I take my revision notes and write the new scenes I need and find places for them among the existing scenes, then go back into the current scenes and revise to fit the new story
  3. A combination of 1 and 2 and start rewriting the story from scratch, but pull the scenes I know I like and paste them in as I go

Some of the revisions will be easily added as new scenes, like building character backgrounds and relationships, flashbacking to show rather than tell, following up on foreshadowing hints and fixing the timeline issues.

Some of the revisions will need to take place over many scenes, since the backstory is going to change. I’m also not totally sold on the reason for the conflict in one of the subplots or on how it unfolds. I’m not there yet in my commenting revision, but I know it’s an issue because I keep thinking about it. I hope when I get there I’ll have a general idea of how to work it out. I think I’ve started to untangle it a little, but I’m trying not to jump too far ahead of myself.

I’m also brainstorming ways to give the main character more depth. Luckily, in the drafting process I gave her a few hobbies and interests that weren’t so sad and depressing and some which were in conflict with her self-definition. I’d like to strength the character development, because I think a minor character steals the scene when he’s in it, which means I’m not doing my main character justice. Thanks to a visit from my beautiful 16 year old niece, I was reminded that teenagers aren’t stereotypes and though we may be quick to judge them on their outward appearance and dress, they’re usually experimenting and discovering new interests from day to day. I want to find a way to capture that complexity in my character, and still find a way to keep her toughness intact.

But, before I get into any of that, I still need to finish my first read-through.

Showing Up

So many writers talk about the struggle to turn up to the page. Once we carve out some time, set up our space, follow our routines and finally sit down (or stand, if you have one of crazy treadmill desks!) the writing feels like no big deal. It’s the set-up and the process that turn us off some days. I’m finding the easiest way around that is to write daily. Nanowrimo got me back in that habit and it’s sort of stuck ever since. In fact, now, when my mind starts to wander or I’m less than busy, I write. At work, I sort of miss crafting my writing, so I sneak in a little break here and there to write to myself or to you all.

I think writing, as a habit, is an easy one to maintain because it is extremely and immediately fulfilling. You see the progress and process and words filling up the page. It’s not a habit like exercise that takes months to see results. One, 15 minute sit-down with writing will create loads of words, a possible scene, a character sketch, a poem.
I’ve been doing this daily writing on top of my 10 pages a day revision project. The revision takes around 15-20 minutes, as does the writing. So I’m happy to fill 30-40 minutes each day with writing. On days when I have more time, I spend more time on it. On days when I have less, I try to stick to my 30-40 minute commitment.

So, showing up to the page, thinking through my writing, creating routines, blogging more, revision- it’s been a productive 2013 so far, let’s hope it keeps up!