My WIP’s Fifth Revision
Chipping Away The Easy Stuff
And it’s taking longer than I wanted.
I’m resisting this and I’m not quite sure why. It’s like a switch clicked and now I’m fighting to do anything with it. I’d much rather do stuff in real life or surf the net. If you’ve got any good game recommendations I’m up for that. Ha.
And no amount of telling myself I’m almost done helps. Who knows, maybe I’m afraid of what comes next…whatever that is. But I think it involves cover art, professional editors, query letters and all things arcane and mysterious to me.
Even now I’m procrastinating finishing this post. Ha.
I finished the easy stuff
As a reminder, I don’t revise stories starting with Scene One, first paragraph, and continue through to THE END. I go after problems, one at a time, chasing them through the story, no matter how much I hopscotch around. So I took my list and grouped notes into three piles – Easy – Hard – What now?
Some things were pretty easy and took almost no thought.
For instance, one of my villains utters a phrase right after an assassination attempt which the spy chief finds curious, investigates, and concludes the villain is up to something nefarious. Readers didn’t think the phrase was incriminating enough.
So…I spiced it up a bit in the inciting scene, and made sure the spy chief repeats it word for word. So it was a minor change to both scenes.
Hard changes touch many scenes or shift the plot or character arc in some scary way.
My beta readers thought my MC treated her little boy like a doll and he had no personality of his own. I guess I treated him like one of Hitchcock’s McGuffins – that thing everyone is trying to get through the entire film…but doesn’t actually do anything. How insensitive I was…ha.
This couldn’t be a one scene fix, but had the potential to touch every scene he was in with his mother…and every scene she has without him.
So I made a list of things kids do from birth to age two: not much in the beginning but look cute and helpless which is a good survival tactic. Later on they do more advanced stuff…pointing and engaging in conversations using their own words, or throwing or dropping things, or running away, or suffering separation anxiety. Armed with this list I added another layer to a number of scenes, trying to be consistent, plausible, and add something to the scene.
And I have a number of topics I just haven’t given any degree of thought to and don’t know what they look like yet.
Beta readers wanted to know more about the political intrigue surrounding her. That means several scenes with my MC and Ladies of the court. But they can’t just sit around and talk. I discovered that she is trying to manipulate the movers and shakers…through their wives (this is a man’s world she lives in). And she has a monthly arts and crafts get-together with her supporters. And I show her in one early in the story trying to shore up support after things have gone wrong.
So this means a layer I hadn’t developed at all…who in involved…how does she act with them…what are the sore points. And I have a couple of other things I need to do with this scene — some readers think she is acting too selfish and too bratty…so I need her to be gracious and considerate…all the while maneuvering to get her way politically.
And then what do I do with these Court Ladies after they’ve had their moment on stage? And how do their husbands fit into the story without adding yet more scenes and changing everything?
By now you must be wondering how this will all turn out…
…and so am I. Ha.
How Far Have I Come?
After a month I’ve revised 98 scenes and closed 289 notes. But it cost me 6,700 words…and counting.
I have three general problems left that I think I need five new scenes to solve, and I expect ripples into eight more scenes. I have no idea how many extra words this will cost, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I add another 6,000 words.
Oh…and the betas wanted me to look at a prologue. And I’ve been the champion of no-prologues in Scrib. Oh well.
And then I will want to go back through the entire editing process. Please, please, please let it be less painful than last time.