Friday, February 17, 2006

And so the edits begin

Interesting. Usually when I finish the first draft of a novel, I can drop it from my brain for awhile. Like when I completed my 2004 Nano novel last September, it just vanished out of my head, and I moved on to the next project. The current book is not going away. Not remotely. Not even partially. My brain is still living in that world with those characters, itching to get back in it and fix up the myriad things I know are missing/wrong with the first draft. I've got a ton of offline work to do just figuring out the rest of the political system I established. I've got to draw a street map of the city, cuz it's bugging me having it only in my head. I've got some failed plot threads to yank, some to put in. And since I haven't touched the beginning since I wrote it in November, I started reading it last night, and found I can't even remember some of it. Usually I need some time between completion of the first draft and the edits to gain some objective distance, but that's there already. Sort of inherent in writing a story from beginning to end without stopping, instead of jumping around between chapters like I used to do.

So, I filed away all my daily drafts last night and backed them up, then started with a new draft of the whole novel. First step is to put page breaks between every scene and label them all (I use simple labels like "CH1, S2" for Chapter 1, scene 2). Tonight, I'll print the entire sucker out, and then comes the fun part. Re-reading the whole thing and logging everything down after each scene into a separate document. POV for the scene, which characters are involved, what happens in the scene, date and time and location, what the scene was really supposed to accomplish... all that info goes into a doc that I then review and use to sort out all the obvious problems. Time consuming, but effective.

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