Monday, October 14, 2013

Trying Not To Stub My Toe

A little kinky, but should do the trick.

The rewrite continues!  I have imagined this rewrite going down in three phases that will probably end up being about forty-seven.  Phase I is basically done.  The first two-fifths (is that a little more than a third but less than half?) of the book had pacing problems, among other things.  Getting this right required a lot of gutting of scenes, rewriting of characters, and a little adding in of new plot lines.  Characters who met for the first time before now already know each other.   Characters who used to think about doing something now just do it, Nike style.  There’s less getting from point A to point B and more just being at point B. 

The end result is fourteen chapters whittled down to about eight.  I found there were a lot of redundant location visits, all of which were reduced to one or otherwise combined.  There were some bushes beating around that got a serious hedge trimming, and all that slashing and burning got me through what I consider to be Phase I of my rewrite.

Now I’m in Phase II.  That’s taking the carnage I created in Phase I and carrying it through the remaining three-fifths of the book.  Oh, that character is a step-brother now, not a natural born brother, so he wouldn’t have sheets from his childhood in this vacation condo, because I established this is the sister’s family condo, not his.  Or, someone can’t refer to another character by name because they didn’t actually meet anymore, she just saw her across the room, and so on and so on.

Phase II, I imagine, will actually be the easiest phase.  This portion of the story is solid and the pacing is good.  I just have to bring forward the changes and see it through to the end.

Phase III is the one that will end up being forty-five stages.  That’s where I have to look at the work as a whole again.  Does it flow?  Does it all still matter, do I still care about what’s happening to all these characters?  In speeding up the beginning, did I leave a door open and let anyone fall out of the car?  And most importantly, is this a great story now?

I compare doing this rewrite to rearranging the furniture in a room.  Imagine you’ve set up a room, a very large room, filled with hundreds of individual items.  You know where everything is and why it's where it is because, after all, you imagined the whole thing from scratch, it's your baby.  If a table is next to a chair, it’s because you sat down in that chair one time with a drink and had nowhere to put it, so you added the table.  A place for everything and everything in its place.

So, let's pull all the furniture out.  Build a bonfire with a bunch of it and strike a match.  Bring in a few new items.  Make sure the new colors go with everything, the patterns, the wood tones.  Put everything back in the room in different spots.  Mind the feng shui!  Everything’s in place.  You think it makes sense.  You think it’s better than before.  There’s a lot of stuff in here, all of it where you didn’t put it the first time around.

Now take off your shoes, turn off the lights, and walk to the other side of the room.  

And pray for the toes.       

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This will definitely be one of those times where, if it doesn't kill you it'll make you - and your story - stronger. Good luck Shawn! And speaking of which, I wonder if anybody has ever died from stubbing a toe?