Friday, December 9, 2016

Revisionist Christmas

Well, less than two and a half weeks until Christmas and, to be honest, I haven't done a lick of shopping yet. Not a thing.

Well, not quite true. There was one gift sitting in my Amazon 'Save For Later' bin which I tucked into the checkout when buying something else. So there's that. But miles to go before I sleep and all that. No, not true, either. I'm typing this right before going to sleep, so I suppose our mileage may vary.

Been doing my damnedest to write every day, and I've mostly succeeded. Working on the fourth draft of Lost in the Woods and still like this, a lot. It's different, and fun, and funny, and scary (I hope). Funny thing about fourth drafts for me - since I tend write in drafts (regurgitate the story as it comes to me first time, no edits, then clean up the big messes in the second, begin to see some decent light shining through the holes in the ceiling on the third). There's still, and always will be, tweaks to the writing, a better word here, less words there, stupid why did I think that was clever there (this last point could be the topic for an entirely different post, but let's try and stay on point a little, at least). 

Other fourth draft discoveries are patching the holes in the characters' physical world. For example, my main character David Pilkinton leaves one location wearing no coat, in the dead of winter (good reason for this) but in a later scene we return to him for a good ten minutes outside without the narrative reminding us he's friggin' freezing, and needs to get inside. I had to remind the reader and make sure everything he does outside of the toasty car is realistic. Stuff on the counter that was somewhere else, even a little, when he left the cottage better be in the same place when he gets back, unless its deliberate. That kind of thing.

Getting close to finishing the draft. Then, knowing I won't find much at all in later drafts if I keep editing online, I'll print off the entire manuscript, read through with new eyes (because at this point my brain is too used to seeing the pages on the screen and doesn't even read the words). Having to read in a different medium forces me to actually read it and more crap jumps out at me.

I actually enjoy the act of revision. Fun to see a good, professional story take shape out if the miasma of my mind.

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