Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Edits are Coming!

Editing is something I have talked about before, and I suspect I will be posting about it again.

Mostly because it's such an integral part of the writing process. I by no means think that everyone should edit the same way as me (I don't even use the same process over and over, but rather try new things with each book) but in case this gives people some ideas, I am going to give you a quick run down of some of the things I am doing to whip this book into shape: 

*(Cribbed this idea from Sol Stein in "Stein on Writing") Before re-reading the book, sit down and write down what the most memorable scene is. Chances are you haven't read this book in a few weeks or more. Figure out which one sticks out most in your mind and why. Is it an epic battle? A quiet moment of tenderness?

*Now figure out the least memorable scene. I usually have to flip through the book in order to figure out which scene I totally forgot about. It's usually a filler scene where the characters are just talking at each other. Now compare the boring scenes with the exciting one and figure out how you can improve the boring scene. If you can't, chances are you need to cut this scene.

*After that, I go through the entire book with a fine tooth comb. I have some paper next to me, and make notes on every single place that needs attention. Each place the character does something out of character, the worldbuilding falls apart, where the pacing slacks off or the story logic falls apart.

*Note cards. They are your friend. I take a pack of note cards and do a scene for each note card. This really helps me look at the entire book as a whole. It's your book in miniature form. If the scene is boring or I need to add to it I make notes on the note card. I can also play around with the story arc and see if I have any glaring plot holes. 

*Save the Cat Beat Sheet. Liz posted her rendition of Blake Synder's Save the Cat Beat Sheet in Excel, and boy has it saved my bacon with this book (alliteration!). I have two major subplots and a minor one in addition to the regular plot of the book. That's a lot of threads to keep track of. And sometimes I think it's enough threads to hang myself with! So this Beat Sheet is a real lifesaver. Basically it's a way to track your major plot events and shore up the book's internal structure.

*Lots of caffeine and chocolate. Enough said.

*Lots of thinking time. In an effort not to work myself into oblivion like last time, I am making sure I taking things slow and try not to push too hard. I am still working my butt off, but instead of revising every single spare second of the day, I make sure I spend some time with my friends and family.

This isn't a complete list (I haven't even begun to line edit) but this is as far as I have gotten. Since a good 50% of this book is going to be rewritten, I figure I'll blog as I progress through the process. 

Wish me lots of luck. And share! How do you approach a massive rewrite? How do you stay sane?

No comments:

Post a Comment