First off, my stress is much less today as the pooch (picture to the left) seems to be fine. Knock on wood. I'm always nervous about saying that because it seems every time I do something else crops up to blindside me, but whatever was bugging her on Sunday doesn't seem to be bugging her now, so I'm thankful for small things.
So, given Coop's improved state of health, I found it easier to concentrate on my story evolution this morning for The Outlaw Bride, and in doing so discovered that yes, Houston, we do have a problem. I have scenes happening either too late or too soon in the story, and some that make no sense at all. Thankfully, it will probably just be a matter of juggling scenes around and cutting out others that have no business being there. I realized this about half an hour into my writing session this morning and tried to figure out the best way to approach this. Then it dawned on me - hey, why don't I make a list, a timeline to show the sequence of events as I had them now. It would make it much easier to see spread out on 5 pages, than on the scene capsules.
So I pulled up the FD30 Day Sheet, switched it to landscape format and added an extra column at the end called "Notes", a place where I can determine what needs to be changed, switched, question on things that don't make sense, etc. I filled in up to scene 30 this morning and hope to get some more done this evening after work. As I'm filling things out I'm realizing a lot of little things that I'm beginning to question, things that need to be changed, streamlined, or explored a little further.
It's going to mean more work, and probably adding about another week to getting this thing out the door to HQN, but in the end I think it makes more sense to take the time and make it as perfect as I can, rather than send out some half-assed attempt that isn't my best work and have it be rejected on that basis. An extra week doesn't seem worth shooting myself in the foot over. The editors at HQN aren't sitting in their offices impatiently tapping their fingers waiting, so I'm guessing they won't notice one way or the other. They will notice however if I send them a piece of crap with holes in the story large enough to fit your fist through.
Once I finish Day Sheet timeline, I'll use it to rearrange the scene capsules, making notes of what I need to change in them, and removing ones that are no longer useful. Then I'll take a second stab at the story evolution to see if the story is in better shape structure-wise before attacking the manuscript itself. This time with my keyboard and not with the blow torch I mentioned yesterday.