The Never-ending story revisions

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I’m still working the revisions. You might have noticed the word count for the HotH revisons hasn't moved. That's because I'm adding as much as I cut so the net word count of the manuscript as a whole (existing plus revisions/new scenes) hasn't increased.


I thought once I settled on which new scenes to keep that I’d just skim/zip through the stuff already existing till I came to the next part of the story I want to flesh out with a new scene, then skim through to the end where I plan to add several more scenes. The new ending is probably going to be the easiest part [Famous Last Words. TM] before I won’t have to worry about ‘fitting’ stuff in.

So what’s the hold-up? Why haven’t I just jumped to part of the story I want to add the next new scene?

1. That ‘fitting stuff in’ thing I mentioned. As I’m going through the existing story, I’m trying to layer elements from the new scenes at the beginning into the story, making sure those new threads continue on, and don’t just disappear.

This applies to characterization as well, which means dialogue changes, but the dialogue was done a certain way to begin with because of plot/character. I have to make sure any changes still make sense within the context of the scene.

2. Repetition concerns. The new scenes for the most part are based on some inferences the characters had made to past occurrences in the original manuscript.

Now that I’ve shown some of those instances on the page, I’m more aware of the existing references veering into overkill. Have to nip them in the bud, but those references might have been part of dialogue, or internal reflection that worked as a transition from one paragraph/event to the next. So again, have to be careful everthing still makes sense. (Nothing is ever as easy as it would seem.)

3. Language. Ugh. I initially wrote this story (very much of a first draft quality) years ago. Never finished it at that time because I could see it deserved more development but had too much on my plate then. My writing has changed (improved?) since then. The language/style I used then is not the style/language I’d used now.

I do think that enough of what I wrote then is effective (emotional intensity/sexual tension, etc--and there are a lot of 'my darlings' in there also--so I don’t want to chuck it wholesale. But I can’t leave the clunky, overwrought stuff in there. Especially when it clearly isn’t the voice/tone of the characters.

Related to character tone: the hero’s buddy with the potty-mouth? His love of ‘mutha-effer’ only showed up in the scenes I wrote to complete the story the first time round. Now that I’ve written the new beginning scenes, he’s having the mutha-effing time of his life. lol. I figure if it sells and the editor wants me to tone it down, I’ll do it then.

The sad thing is, I cleaned up this tortured language stuff the first time when I decided to finish and submit the story. Obviously it needed more work.

I’m making this sound like I’m working on a freaking literary masterpiece. lol. Not! It’s just an entertaining story that I really want to make the most of. In for a penny, in for a pound, etcetera, etcetera
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vanessa jaye said...

I'll just rambling on a bit and do my writing progress/updates in this comment thread for now.

Anywho, I just might have found myself out of the weeds (for now). The last little bit I've gone over has been more about tweaking the writing, than anything else. This is what I hope will continue on until I get to the point I need to add another scene.

In fact, I think I'll send the new scenes/begining out for beta reads/crits/feedback. ::happy::

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