Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dismantling the Structure

With two next-draft projects on my plate, I thought I'd take a look at what next-drafting entails.  It boils down to three things: editing, re-writing and adding new material.  The first two tend to be relatively easy, and in many cases, it's mostly a matter of tweaking and fine-tuning.  I like to go through that stuff first, fixing the stuff that's easy.  In the case of Holver Alley Crew, a lot of that was just me being a bit sloppy: a few instances of "through" instead of "threw", a few sentences where I dropped a crucial word.  Embarrassing, sloppy stuff.  But that part is easy.

Then I go through again and note the stuff that needs more serious work.  I don't tackle that work, not just yet.  Just make notes.  Then I make a timeline of the book.  This part is crucial in adding new material, as it helps identify points where additional material could be weaved in. 

Next step: remove all the chapter breaks.

This is crucial for me, for the way I write.  See, when I first write the rough draft, I don't write in chapters.  I  don't really think in chapters.  For me, it's all scenes.  Once I'm done, I go through it scene by scene and find the chapter breaks.  If I need to pepper new scenes throughout, it's a lot easier for me not to think about how it affects the size and sequence of chapters. 

It's purely psychological, I know.  But, for me, it feels a lot more natural to take the whole thing apart, and then rebuild something newer and stronger, than it is to try and slip and pry new things into an existing structure.

1 comment:

jheaton said...

Have you ever considered *not* inserting chapters, ala Terry Pratchett? Or is that something Pratchett can get away with by dint of being Terry Pratchett that you don't have the clout for?