Getting back into it

  • 1

Getting back into it

My holiday is over. Time to get back to work novelling. Between now and 1 November I want to plan out all the changes and additions I’ll eventually make to my young adults novel.

And then I want to plan whatever I’ll write during nanowrimo – perhaps a sequel to my young adults novel, perhaps a romance set in france, perhaps something else entirely…

We have a new routine, now that my toddler is off to nursery school three days a week, and so I’m trying to figure out when are the best times to schedule in writing for the foreseeable future.

So far, this week, it’s been slow and rough going. I’m creating a post-it-plot.

This is a great tool, I find, for getting my head around a whole book. This particular novel needs dramatic changes – reconstructive surgery, I’m calling it. So I need to get perspective on the thing as a whole, and make decisions as objectively as I can manage. I may need to be brutal – cut whole scenes, change characters… terrifying stuff! The central idea and the central character are strong so it’s not a total do-over.

Next week I will be polishing up the first chapter to take along to writers’ group. I might also have a go at short-story-ifying my draft. This, hopefully, will really help to crystalize its strengths. Known them, I’ll better be able to hack off the dead wood.

Might have to try this brainstorming technique too. I have noticed that the main character’s love interest is not all sweetness and light… which somehow I missed when I first wrote this. Problem for rewriting though… implications will probably mean more major changes.

On re-reading I also noticed a few coincidences and a few cases of life being a little too sweet and easy for the main character… so things will obviously have to get more difficult. I can get away with coincidences if they cause problems for the protagonist… so perhaps she shouldn’t hit it off with her love interest straight away. Instead she could thoroughly embarrass herself, and so bumping into him later is not actually, initially, a good thing.

I need to slow things down a bit and add tension at the same time. My characters shouldn’t easily and happily fall into a friendship. And my main character is fascinating enough (or should be) to have a bit more time and words spent on her, on her own.

Another thing to add to my revisions to-do list: shorten scenes to the bare essentials. Shorter scenes = faster pace for readers… plus will help me to be really clear about the point of a scene. In short, I should end scenes with cliff-hangers and start them smack-bang in the middle of the action.

The high-tension actions scenes are probably the exception: rather than trimming they might need more of a slo-mo work-over. Good advice on just how to do this here.

Lots to do, and I’m dreaming about having plenty of time and energy with which to do it. Time may be on the increase, but energy is hard to come by. Elena has been waking multiple times in the night far too regularly. Meanwhile, I’m trying to decrease my caffeine intake – this afternoon I made coffee with half and half decaf and normal coffee grinds. Desperate times. I’m hoping my half-strength coffee has a bit of a placebo effect, revving me up with psychosomatic caffeine. Worth a try.

Fingers crossed next week will be easier, but I suppose getting used to a new routine might take three or four weeks… so perhaps things will be easier in November.


1 Comment

Roland Clarke

September 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Just finished my first red pen revision of something I wrote last summer. Thousands of red marks/arrows/notes/deletions but know like you that the changes are needed. It always seems to happen however well I feel I’ve plotted things – use a writing software with scenes that I can use like a post-it chart.

Like the way you are approaching the revision – not committed to saving everything by the sound of what you say, just getting to the essence.

Good luck with the revision and for NaNoWriMo. I have rough outline in note form for a sequel to WIP that revising at the moment.