Archive for October, 2007


Add now / Cut later

October 16, 2007

This past weekend my wife and I took a trip to visit my family on the other side of the state.  4 1/4 hours roundtrip is a great chunk of time to talk about TheNovel, so I printed off the newly minted Chapter 3, and brought it with us.

As it turns out, she was able to find a couple of glaring holes in the plot already, and we discussed some other great ways to rework what we had down so far.  For example, what is currently titled “Chapter 3” is probably going to end up being split into 3 separate chapters.  The main reason for this is that despite the fact that it looks like one chapter in my notes, it turned out to have multiple different focuses – each really deserving their own chapters.  A second example is that one of the uncovered holes will be filled by a brand new chapter being inserted between the current Chapters 2 and 3.  Finally, we talked about a lot of smaller stuff, like artifacts in the world that we’re creating, character names, character back-story, etc..  Addressing this kind of item should help enrich and deepen the universe.

When I started laying out the story, and especially when I started writing it, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to break 200 pages overall.  As it stands, we’re about 1/4 of the way through my original notes and we’re at 52 pages.  On top of that, we’re now adding notes (i.e., the extra chapter, and some of the additional character and world development), so at this point I don’t think 200 pages will be a problem, and 300 seems to be quite reachable.  Now I’m concerned that by the time we get to the end we’ll be way over what a publisher is willing to print for a first-time novelist-pair, and we’ll end up having to cut stuff out.  That feels like it will be more painful than trying to come up with stuff to put into TheNovel.

So far this road trip has been the most extreme revision session we’ve had, but I think it was worth it.  When the writing started, I thought we would get a draft of everything down, and THEN start hacking and slashing our way through it.  This latest round suggests that if we see a hole, we should probably fill it now – while the material is fresh, and the hole is clearly visible.  I think we’ll still end up waiting until the draft is complete before trying to cut out anything major.

Instead of “Write now / Revise later”, perhaps the guideline to follow is really “Add now / Cut later”.

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3 Down

October 13, 2007

I didn’t think I had anything left in me tonight.  I was tired – mentally and physically.  I intended to stay up just long enough to get a load of laundry done.  I plopped down on the couch to watch part of a movie to unwind while I waited.  I finished the movie, and thought – well, maybe I could write a little tonight.  I haven’t touched TheNovel in a few days.  Maybe I can get a page out.

I had more in me than I thought possible.  I managed to get 8 pages out, and finished the first draft of Chapter 3 in the process.  I’ve now passed the 50-page mark on TheNovel.

NOW I can go to bed happy.

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October 2, 2007

This past week, I only managed to get a net of 4 pages written, but it was partly due to me rewriting a 3 page scene.  I had loaded up the beginning of the scene with a lot of exposition about the building that it was taking place in.  The building plays a key role in the overall story, so I felt I had to spend some quality time introducing it.

After I gotten all of this exposition down, I then tried to bring my main character, Alina, into the mix.  That’s when I got stuck.  After trying a few things, and thinking about the scene, I decided that what I really wanted to do was introduce the building through Alina’s eyes.  I had a feeling that it would make the exposition a little less dreary, and I had hoped that it would make the transition to the rest of the scene easier to write.  It only took me a couple of hours to rework it from Alina’s point of view, but it was time well spent because it catapulted me into the rest of the scene.  Since Alina was already in the scene, I didn’t need to write a transition to GET here there – I could just bring the other characters in, and let them start to interact.  My feeling and my hope were both shown to be right on.

I’m now armed with a new question for when it comes time to go into another block of exposition: “Would this block read better if I wrote it from the point of view of one of my characters, rather than the omniscient narrator?”

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