Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Process Examination #13: It's All a Placeholder for the Real Thing

Sigh. I'm trudging my way through the first draft of THUMB, and I've realized that there is so much I have to fix. Just about every scene has something that is my shorthand for "make this not suck in revision." It was not a shiny happy moment when I took stock of Act One and realized most of it fits into that category. But still I keep slogging, although it's harder to do so when you're staring at a scene that is just mired in Suck, when you're having characters talk about conflict and action rather than actually putting them in conflict and action.

Of course, it's not all bad. Even in the "slime, filth, putresence" stage, I see the gems still, which means that there are likely more of them than I'm letting myself see at the moment. And all this talking head phenomenon I've got going on and the punches I'm pulling so my characters aren't cut too low too soon (I know where they're going to end up by Acts 3 and 4, so I'm trying to be a little nice to them right now; Bad Author! Bad!) is helping me see where the story's lacking, what I need to fix. I even managed to figure out a better way to do a certain plot and character point last night because of all the vast amounts of suck surrounding me. (By then, though, it was my bed time, so I only managed to choke out about 150 words in that new direction. Thank God PPR is going well so I'm not feeling completely stupid in writing.)

I think I might have even mastered part of the trick of changing plot or characters in mid-story and not having to go back and revise. We'll see as I keep moving forward, though. I feel driven to finish this draft without getting stuck in loops, so I'm going to keep pushing on, asking questions when I stumble to make sure I don't get too far away from the story and the characters that I have to scrap 82K like I did with SoZ. (I know I've said that before. Writers pay attention to refrains, sometimes we even figure out what they mean before our readers do. I'm pretty sure the essence of this motif is this: Me want finish book! Now!)

One thing that might help me through this is to actually track the Things That Suck as I notice them in a document so I can have a revision guide. Of course, that also runs the risk of starting out my revisions in a very negative light. Must ponder.

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