Monday, March 17, 2008

Done with Chapter 1 again

I don't know what to call it--the rewrite of my rewrite--but I finished going over Chapter 1 after the major rethinking I've been doing. I took my focus questions, applied them to this material, and rewrote or developed a few scenes to make it all more closely align with (or set up, actually) the rest of the story. That was a bout three days of work. So maybe I can do the same with chapters 2-4 in the next couple weeks and get myself back to the point in the rewrite where I've been stalled since early January.

In reality I think where I am with Chapter 1 is finally having finished what anyone would call a strong first draft. I say this because my first draft didn't amount to much to more than a scaffold with no real movement or development and what I've been working on is developing it all.

I also say that because I am suddenly very preoccupied with problems of shape, organization and flow. When I notice things that don't work about chapter 1, it's less about where the story doesn't make sense or feels dead than it is about where it slows down or has unnecessary detail or doesn't have the impact I want because things are presented in the wrong order. My creative energies are drifting toward how I can move things around to bring out what I really want to emphasize.

I started to do that a little, but I'm trying to be disciplined about moving forward with the rewrite work in the rest of the book. I'm leaving Chapter 1 behind in a mess that can be fixed later. Part of the theory is that I'll fix it more effectively after I've done all of the rewrite. (I suppose an opposite argument could be made that I'll do the rewrite much more effectively if I've established the opening as well as possible.)

Anyway, for now my mantra is "just keep developing it." Go deeper.

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