Monday, April 16, 2007

Chapter 8, 18k

I spent a lot of time recently going over and over the existing chapters of the second draft, tightening, tweaking, making it sing. I'm really pleased with the results. I feel this second draft, the portion already written, is very solid. It's what I had hoped the first draft would be.

Last night I worked on Chapter 8. I still have a little to add to it, but it's mostly done. After I had stopped work, I felt what I had written was terrible, but later when I read it over, I thought it was actually very good. So, the doubts will creep in, but are not reason to become discouraged. It seems the more I go over this story, the better I know it, and the better I can tell it. I make more connections now between scenes and especially the forces that drive character motivations. This deeper understanding shows up in each scene I write for this second draft.

As there are multiple scenes in most chapters, and the number of chapters and scenes is beginning to grow, I found it useful to update my Master Scene List, a table where I keep track of each scene in each chapter so I can tell at a glance what has happened and what needs to happen next. I compare what I am doing with what I did before, but I am not bound to follow the exact pattern from before. The idea in this second draft is that I am making minor reshuffles, adjusting the flow of scenes to enhance motivation and cause/effect. Also, as I mentioned in a previous posting, I'll be reshuffling one major portion of the story, moving it earlier where it will have a greater effect and set up more potential in other scenes that come later. Still, I need to refer to the Master Scene List from the first draft to remind me of the various scenes I'm working with. Some I can consolidate, some I can shuffle, some I can drop and replace with other ways of getting the story across. Eventually I will put some of my tables online with links for free download. I know I've been promising that for months; I will get to it eventually.

At this point I'll try to keep moving forward. I love tweaking text but enough is enough. There is much more to write to get this draft done, and I'm falling behind schedule, sacrificing speed for more polished results.

Back to work,



Wynn Bexton said...

I usually work on a piece until I'm reasonably satisfied, then I workshop it. Then I rework it. And usually I am always adding, tweaking bits and pieces until I move on to the next part. I find the transitions are always the hardest. Right now I'm moving from one chapter to the next and it will take me a few days to get settled into the p.o.v. and then I'll be able to move forward. (My novel is multiple p.o.v.)

Adrian Swift said...

Thanks for your comment, Wynn!

This first novel is written entirely in the MC's POV, so I am not dealing with the changes in POV which you describe. I have enough other stuff to deal with as I negotiate the terrain of a first novel, so I wanted to keep it simple where I could.

I see how there is a natural rhythm from what you describe. I guess I am just dealing with my own cycles. I took the weekend off and rested up. As I begin work on the novel for this new week, starting tonight, I'll just jump to the end of what I wrote and continue from there.

I must stop looking back -- I spent another week tweaking text when I had already planned to move forward! Time to re-establish that "first draft" mode where I turn off the internal editor and just go for it. There is much to write and I need to get a move on.

Although I was thinking this second draft might be the last one, now I am thinking it will be one to share for feedback on the story as a whole (macro level), the basic idea of each chapter, the goals along the way, the revelation of the story, the focus on the conflicts, etc. I can then use that feedback to make any story changes, then do one more draft with a focus on the telling of the story, rather than the story itself.

Anyhoo, good luck with your work, Wynn, and thanks for stopping by!

RomanceWriter said...

You constantly amaze me with how well you are doing with writing your novel. It's inspiring!

Adrian Swift said...


thanks! It's always a challenge, but I just keep going . . . .

Good luck with your own writing!