Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Working Vacation

Two days to go until my vacation begins. I had originally booked this week off because this Friday I was going to pick up the beagle I planned to purchase. A fact which feels somewhat surreal to me now. But I still had vacation time to use up so even after deciding against the purchase of the beagle I kept the vacation booked. With our Thanksgiving long weekend happening on the following weekend, it allowed me an extra day tagged on to the end. And I feel the need for a nice loooooong break.

So what am I doing with the ten days off work you may ask? Sitting in front of my computer and wrestling what remains of my revisions to the ground. Or at least to the page. I am halfway there as of today, but I still have quite a few new scenes and revised scenes to go. There is barely a scene in the book that hasn’t been affected by the revisions, so I’ve really had my work cut out for me. Worst of all, I have no idea how these revisions are reading. I’m determined to finish everything first, then go back and do a read through so I can get the full impact.

The question is – can I do it all in just 10 days? I did up a schedule last weekend but I’m already behind. The new scenes took longer to write, four scenes have been combined into two and that took a fair bit of finagling to get right. I’m happy with how things are turning out, but frustrated that it is taking so long. One of my goals this year was to get more writing done, to manage two books per year. That hasn’t happened, and given that we are only days away from the last quarter of the year, I’m guessing it isn’t going to happen. Which adds to the frustration.

On the plus side, I have figured out what my problem is. Well, one of them at least. I have several problems but the rest will have to left to the professionals. As for my writing, the reason I have thus far only been able to pump out one book is that I get through the second draft thinking it is going to be my last and realize my plot is falling apart or has holes in it, my character arcs are all over the place and sundry other little things that add up to major revisions. Had I figured all this out in the plotting, or at least the majority of it, I could probably produce a much cleaner first draft and a much faster second final draft.

So that is my goal with Saving Grace, book two in the series. I have the plot roughed out into about a ten page document. But this time, I am going to plot with the story and character arcs in mind. I am going to pick apart each scene to ensure it does what it should and fits where it’s at. I will ensure the intensity of the emotion grows and builds in a natural manner and that everything feeds into the black moment the way it should. I will nail down my characters’ GMC before I write the first page.

The storyboarding course I took will definitely help in this regard. Having the board in front of me really gives a visual of the story. But I also devised a table in Word that maps out: (a) what happens in the scene; (b) what it reveals about the hero and/or heroine; (c) how it changes the story; (d) things I may want to consider changing.

This has helped immensely with my revisions for Brimstone and I keep thinking it would have been really beneficial if I had taken the time to do this before writing, or even after the initial draft since often things come out in the actual writing that you didn’t realize in the plotting stages.

But I guess this is all part of the writing process, finding the ways that work for you, improving the way you do things. I hope I don’t stop learning, but I also hope I learn a little faster so I can reach my goals and get this career off the ground!

8 comments:

Melissa Marsh said...

I have been struggling with the same thing - my last two novels had such major plot holes that I ended up doing a LOT of rewriting and revising. It frustrated me. So this time, I'm trying to get all these issues ironed out before I even start writing. The problem? I'm itching to begin WRITING. But I know if I don't get this stuff figured out now, I'll end up wasting time going back and revising. Definitely an exercise in discipline.

I would love to take a week off and do nothing but write. Maybe that's what I'll do for my next vacation...

Enjoy!

Annie Mac said...

I'm still trying to work out my process. Plotting is my strong point so I usually have the external stuff figured out before I write. The problem is my characters don't want to cooperate - they have minds of there own.

Good luck on getting your revisions done on your vacation.

Tempest Knight said...

Sorry to hear you're having a hard time with your latest story. Perhaps this vacation time is what you need to recharge. Put aside the story, and when you come back, you'll be able to figure out things better. :)

Lexi said...

You sound just like me! I'm planning to plot out the 3rd book in my Scottish series before I start true writing on it. My theory is that if I plot it all out (or a lot of it, anyway) that will lead me to a quicker first draft and hopefully few revisions. Let me know how it works for you! I won't even get to that story until this current one is on its way to Nationals for the Golden Heart.

julia said...

I think revisions are a monumental part of the writing process - one which I've only just begun to figure out. And that's after I've been writing for quite awhile, now. I've discovered that I should be open to trying out new techniques throughout my life of writing. There's always a new AHA moment just around the corner.

annette said...

I hear your pain. I feel like I'm writing in circles these days. My poor CPs!

Anyway, enjoy your week, despite the schedule you've set for yourself. I'm sure having a few days without work will allow you to get a lot done. Good luck and keep us posted!!

Toni Anderson said...

Even when I plot out and work out ARCs I find things can still change on me halfway through. I always do AT LEAST 3 drafts :) Argh. Don't give yourself too many limitations, just write the best story you can!

Have a great 10 days.

Christine d'Abo said...

Kelly, you will be able to get a lot done in ten days. Man, I wish I was able to stay home and write like that...

Mind you, I do have a week of vacation left.