Thursday, March 13, 2008

Best laid plans . . .

This work is so humbling. During the rewrite process I don't think I've had a single day when I started and ended with the same sense of what the timeline and scope of work are going to be. Every time I think I know what I need to be doing, the path closes up and I have to bushwack until I find another one.

Today, I'm ending with a feeling that I've gained some time back compared to the course I thought I was on when I started this morning . . .

Over the last week or so I haven't been writing any but I have been doing a lot of thinking, note taking and brain storming. I went through my outline of all the chapters and made notes on what needs to be added to bringing them into closer alignment with the main path of the story. Scenes to add. Scenes where the dots need to be connected better. I also did a lot of brainstorming on a complicated subplot and where it will get developed.

That left me feeling like I basically had to start the rewrite over again. For example, Chapter 1 needs XYZ changes to get it focused. That's been scary, so I've been procrastinating. Really I dreaded it. It now feels like it will take years to finish.

So I started today finally, making a fresh copy of Chapter 1 and going to work on it. As I did that, though, I got the idea that maybe it won't be so slow. I needed two basic things to be established. In one case it required a new scene entirely and in another it was expanding and deepening a scene. I did that in a quick hour of writing. Just punch them in there. It's messy. The transitions don't work and the new materials is probably too abstract to be really interesting. They are probably in a tone that doesn't fit with the chapter. The rest of the chapter will need to be checked for continuity with the new material.

But, in a sense, I got done the big changes for that chapter that my rethinking in the last couple of weeks has provoked. If I want, I can go on to do the same thing with Chapter 2 tomorrow. And if the pattern follows, I can do a lot of the big fixes in the chapters that I've already done my first rewrite on in about a week. That would bring me up to Chapter 5, which I've been stuck on for awhile, and continue my rewrite from there, with more focus than I have had up until now.

That's the plan today. Let's see how I get humbled tomorrow.

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