Reached The End – now to begin the real work
Love writing anything new. Always surprised by the twists and turns in the story. This time, with Joanna, of Virginia, the first book in my new Civil War Wives Series, there were a number of things that affected the story and its outcome. So, today I am reading through, making my first corrections after rewriting the last third of the novel. I am looking for inconsistencies, story turning points, whether this scene is strong enough or should I replace it with something better. For the goal in writing a book is to get an idea from your head into some form where you can share it and the other person, the reader, gets it. They understand the journey of your characters and how it has impacted their lives and what it all means.
It is the longest session in the edit for me because I am pruning away words here, adding a sentence or paragraph there to illustrate and clarify the meaning I intended to create.
Honestly, I think I have twenty books locked in old non-working computers because I used to hate editing so much. It seemed like however the story arrived, my first vision of it and the words I used, were the true story and it was all unchangeable. If you take out a character, or add an event, the rest of the story is changed, I felt destroyed. It’s like playing that game Jinga, where you have a tower of logs and you try to take them out one at a time without it all falling apart. Well, we have a glass-topped coffee table and I was never good at playing that game either. Noisy game when you play badly.
Now, I see it as just another step in the long line of editing changes needed to polish and perfect a story. And the scary part is, I think I like it.
First of the year and I am hoping to write more this year than last, so I am also noodling stories in my head that I need to write. Need a circus story for an anthology in a local group, still a non-starter on that one. Beating out a fourth novel in last years series, the Mountain Wives, trying to lay out the scenes and events that happen to Cicily and Asa. Need another entry, soon, for the Patterson co-author contest.
Still muddling about a project I’m calling Scattered Seeds and at the back of my mind I have an apocalyptic novel brewing – I know, not the genre I normally write, but the world seems so real and is begging to be written.
OUTLINING A NEW NOVEL
I really felt I made a break through in writing when I took a year or two to study screenwriting and write a half dozen scripts. It feels totally different than the act of writing a novel, but it is a great way to see the bare bones of the story and its structure. It doesn’t matter if you follow Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat, or Chris Soth’s Mini Movie Method, or the traditional three or four act structure, it is a great way to outline a complete story.
One of the members of CCWA loves mind-mapping. I’ve tried it a couple of times, but since I can barely read my handwriting these days, it doesn’t do me a lot of good. Messy, but a nice free-range way to plot.
Love to hear how you approach editing or planning your next project. Please share.