Planning

When Wilom met Vanda to go and meet with the Heads, there was a tense silence between them. Wilom was expecting Vanda, as usual, to continue as if nothing was wrong, but instead she seemed to be still mulling over their conversation about leaving. Vanda had a bag with her, just a simple traveller’s backpack. Continue reading

Commitments

Wilom waited for Vanda, for once, when they met for tea to talk through their next meeting with the Heads. He had brought a book to read, and sat at the tea shop, periodically telling the waitresses to give him “just another few minutes until my friend gets here” until Vanda arrived. Continue reading

Edit Pass Live Stage 3: Finding Enthusiasm

I want to admit something, in the interest of documenting the whole procedure of editing and rewriting.

I really love the concepts in tKC. I really want to see it finished. There are some characters I have become very attached to, and I really want to have this story to the point where I can just do my normal edit passes, both for the blog, and for myself. Continue reading

Edit Pass Live Stage 3: The Rewrite

Deep breaths.

Deeeeeeeeeep breaths.

OK.

Here’s the part that’s going to take me a while.

As of finishing my timeline, I decided that I was going to leave the character stuff alone. I’ll do some extra work if I run into trouble while writing, rather than trying to solve my problems before I know what they are. So you’ll see me mention if I end up doing any of that later, but for now that’s on hold.

Now we start the rewrite.

I feel sort of bad that I ended up doing Edit Pass Live for this particular story and edit, actually. When I started this, it was because I thought I was going to be discussing an actual edit pass. I thought I was going to be able to talk about how I was looking at the structure and changing things around, and what I was looking for in each pass, and all of that sort of thing. And I chose to do it because I wanted to put something out there that wasn’t talking about first drafts, that was diving specifically more into the editing process.

But here we are, and what the story needs is a rewrite, not an edit, so this is what you get. I may actually extend this “edit pass” to include both this rewrite and a subsequent actual edit pass after this – but only if folks keep showing interest because I know it’s probably not the most exciting thing to hear me talk about myself constantly. I’ll definitely take a hiatus and write some other content while I let the story sit – I’m definitely not letting this be the only content I produce for the next six-odd months.

Anyway – we were talking about rewriting.

I’m not sure I can really front-load this with a lot of information, but I’ll try. I’m a very linear writer, in that I start at the beginning and write through to the end. I find it easier to work out pacing that way – I can feel things progressing as I write, whereas I tend to lose the thread if I try to write scenes out of order.

In order to start, I’ve got all those worldbuilding notes, plus the ones I already had for the last draft, all lined up in Scrivener. I first got Scrivener a little over a year ago, and I am a firm convert, but that’s a discussion for another time. I’ve also transferred my last draft into a big folder, so that I can go back, reference it, steal scenes and lines, and all that.

I’ve got that write-up of all my notes that I made, in categories so I can easily reference them while I’m writing if need be. I have a clean file for making more notes in as I write, things I either need to remember for later, or that I know I need to address in the next edit pass.

I also have a notebook next to my computer so that I can write down my Next Five Scenes lists and I’ve got scratch paper if I need it.

Because this is a rewrite, I’m going to keep a running wordcount total, which I wouldn’t do for an edit pass. I’m going to try and blaze through this as fast as possible, too, because I’m not sure that there will be a lot to talk to you folks about, but we’ll see how we go.

So that’s that – see you all on Twitter, or in the next blog post!

Edit Pass Live Stage 2: Structure Problems

So, when I last posted about things, I mentioned that I’d been having some dilemmas because of the structure of the story. I’d like to talk a bit about what I meant by that, and while I think I’ve made a decision, I don’t know if I will change my mind later, or whether I’ll realise that the story really needs to go a different way, but there we are.

When I originally conceived tKC, it was as a duology – that, I figured, was about as much time as I had for plot. I might not be capable of writing anything that’s less than 100,000 words, but I also know I run out of plot well before trilogy length, and I have a very strange relationship with changing the lengths of stories in editing passes. The lengths can quite often change, in either direction, but that seems to have little to no bearing on my actual wordcount goals for the piece.

But one of the things that I’ve realised I do when I write is that I tend to write in a sort of … two-act structure. That’s a very loose term for it and I’m not sure it warrants any title that formal. And of course, now I say this nobody’s ever going to read one of my stories without looking for this so … oops, I guess? Sorry about that? What I mean is that I tend to write stories with a breaking point, and then a climax. That is, a mini-climax in the middle where everything changes for the characters and the tension spikes sharply, then I work towards the climax at the end.

Sounds fairly simple, right?

Problem.

The way I conceived of tKC initially, as I was re-timelining, did not have a nice three breaking points before the climax – so I could put breaking point, end of Book 1, breaking point, and of Book 2. The story naturally fell into two breaking points and a climax.

This, for obvious reasons, doesn’t lend itself well to a duology. If I wrote to the first breaking point and then put the second two in Book 2, it would have felt back-loaded and uneven. If I’d put the first two breaking points in Book 1 and saved Book 2 for the big climax, I would have had severe Mushy Middle problems for most of Book 2.

Part of what makes this particularly complex is that I have three different character threads (and possibly four depending on how I decide a few things), and that means that while they don’t necessarily need climaxes at the same time, the stories at least need to have some form of parallel to make them feel cohesive, so I need to arrange their tension spikes around each other, and make sure that I don’t accidentally fatigue the reader.

So, I had a few options. First, I could try and split it into a trilogy instead. One book per breaking point, and find some minor breaking points in the middle to create my nice two-act … you know what? My blog, my rules, I’m calling it ‘turning-point structure’. It’s based around building up to a turning point that then leads to the climax. So – I do have other stuff happening between – I could line up a few of those revelations to form the turning points and then use my break points that I’d already identified as the climaxes of three books. My problem here is that I just don’t think there’s enough story for that. I think if I did that, the story would get extremely bogged down.

Second, I could try and manufacture a third turning point to make it break nicely. It could be done – there were a couple of ideas I played with. But the trick there is the multiple plot threads. I decided that was a last resort because it would create a sort of butterfly effect – I couldn’t just change one character’s plotline without moulding all the others around it, and it was just going to be  a headache. Obviously I’d do it if that was what needed to happen, but I wasn’t going directly for that option.

Third, I could elevate another conflict to the status of ‘turning point’ and use that instead. This would require a little wrangling but not as much as option 2, and wouldn’t involve coming up with too much new plot like option 1.

I think I ended up going with a mixed approach. I realised I did have a third turning point, but it occurs extremely early in Book 1, so I’d overlooked it. I think I will end up extending that a bit further into the book, and to compensate for the big stretch of just build-up in between, I do have a couple of minor tension spikes, not a full turning point but big character moments. I’ll see how it works out when I start writing.

Sorry if this is extremely confusing – I’m trying to keep things spoiler-free, so I’m not going into specifics. I hope I’ve explained things so it’s at least understandable.