Chelson’s Bridge – Fourth Revision
I’m Done…Now What?
When I began revision four, editing, I’d used 15,661 words, beyond the 12,000 word plan…which I commented on in another post. Despite using editing tricks developed in my last WIP, a scant 650 words came out, creating a tighter, denser and more interesting story. But, with 15,011 words, that’s 3,011 beyond my target.
How disappointing to not reach my word-count goal. If I had an answer, I’d happily pass it along. When I figure something out, I’ll post it.
Chelson’s Bridge – Too Big
What To Do?
Big time doubt.
I planned to write my story in 12,000 words…but passed that count with the fifteenth scene, and three yet unwritten.
14,800 words…first draft…with zillions of problems.
17,735 words…first revision…plot holes fixed…maybe.
14,543 words…second revision…scene structures fixed.
Third Draft Complete
Character Arcs and Dialog
Third revision…complete…six days.
All character arcs installed…real dialog written.
As my first step, I went through each scene and color coded paragraphs based on the owning character. Because I write Third Person Close, every unclaimed line belongs to the MC. This means no external narrator, and we experience everything through the POV character. In all, I identified the MC and seven others with potentially having arcs.
Then, starting with the least important character with the fewest scenes, I focused on their paragraphs, chasing them through the entire story. In most cases, there wasn’t a great deal of arc. But that wasn’t true for the good friend turned suspicious, the jealous girlfriend, or the indifferent new girl. And the MC ran the Hero’s Journey arc with flaws eventually causing a major problem that he couldn’t fix until he came to terms with them, then went on to defeat the bad-guy. Did he get something he wanted and needed?
Trusted Reader Confusion Dispelled
Well…I finished the Second Revision…again.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because I announced the same thing a week ago.
Then Trusted Reader comments ruined everything. To bad…so sad.
Four confusing things. But how did they apply to my story. So, I dug deeper. Between her thoughts and my suspicions, I found 55 changes in 16 of 18 scenes.
But I couldn’t deny several underlying scene structure problems. One action scene used too much front-end material. The solution? Rewrite the scene without the front-end material and save it for a rainy day…which came the next day in a new scene which established another scene.
Trusted Reader Reacts to Chelson’s Bridge
Not hoped for words from my Trusted Reader.
And I’m shocked.
I’d assumed my understanding of craft had improved, along with story structure, particularly the Hero’s Journey.
Nor has my skin grown any thicker. It took a bit to move beyond an emotional reaction and discuss her thoughts. She didn’t understand the world view, nor did she get the McGuffen.
Second Revision of Chelson’s Bridge
Fixing Scene Structure
Second revision…done…four days.
What’s a second revision?
Great question. With our first draft we captured our tale, and the first revision corrected story structure and plot line problems.
The second addresses scene structure.
Again…what does that mean?
Readers understand all scenes aren’t identical. Car chase scenes have a different feel from Hitchcock’s suspense scenes. It’s easy to conjure other examples…or get her book. And I applied Jordan Rosenfeld’s teachings from Make A Scene, picking and choosing from her ten scene types.
First Revision of Chelson’s Bridge
Fixing Story Structure and Plot Lines
First revision…done…in nine days.
And, you know you are done…how?
Because, after taking 126 comments from my First Read, sorting them into piles — Rev 1 story structure and continuity (109), Rev 2 scene structure (15), Rev 3 character arcs (1), and edit issues (1), I addressed all Rev 1 item, leaving nothing to do.
Ready for the world?
Nope…maybe Revision Two…and then probably only for the eyes of a Trusted Reader. Continue reading