Sunday, December 27, 2009

If the Puzzle Pieces Don't Fit

If the puzzle pieces don't fit, can I hammer them into place?

This rewrite is like putting trying to open a Chinese puzzle box. Or 3-D Tetris. I'm moving the timeline around, which changes who knows what when. Cause and effect are thrown out of sync.

Getting back to thinking about this as a play with acts, I have to figure out how to show the gun - so to speak - in act 2, which is late, but I can't mention it any earlier than that for other plot reasons. In the original version, the characters were getting along when the gun is shown, but now they aren't. It's easy to force them to be together. The hard part is figuring out why they'd be on speaking terms for that scene when they need to be at odds later.

And none of this probably makes sense to you.

*writer mumbling incoherently to herself as she walks down the street*

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hanging Back Again

I started to work on the rewrite of the rewrite, but realized I'd made a wrong turn further back than I'd originally thought, so now I'm hanging back and thinking. Thinking about characters. Not what it would be cool to have them do, but what they would do in a situation. Which brought my thoughts back to the core of the character: what is important to him? That's when I realized that his definition of himself has been challenged every step, and failing to live up to that personal code is going to hurt more than anything another character can do.

Some people call it a muse, I call it a change of focus. Either way, it's inspiration.

Backtracking isn't so bad when I think I'm finally on the right track. I need to hang back and focus on this type of thing more often.

Monday, December 21, 2009


While typing merrily away...

Okay, not merrily, but with purpose, I've finally reached the point where the current path of my characters meets the old path and I can salvage a lot of Act III. Except that I rushed the last chapter and I know it's wrong. It moves events and relationships froward, but it's lazy and the pace is wrong. Ugh. Back track, once again. At least it's only a couple thousand words. And if I get it right, I'll be in a good place. My characters, not so much. Every day dawning is fresh hell for them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Putting Away the Whine

So I'm working on the rewrite now. Finally got past my ego struggle and wrote a new first chapter. I'm on my way.

Kelley referred to parts of this story as Acts. I love plays, musicals, and opera, so the term has meaning to me. Act 1 is where the characters and the conflict are introduced. It has to suck in the audience. Act 2 is the tricky part. If it's not interesting, the audience squirms and their thoughts go to intermission. Intermission in a book is where they set it down and never pick it up again. Yikes! So the stakes have to keep cranking up to keep them interested, but they also have to be drawn deeper into the characters. Act 2 is where the emotional commitment is made. Act 3 is where everything that was set in motion plays out. That's the audience's reward for coming back from intermission. My Act 3 needs work, but Act 2 was the weakest part, so that's where I'm focused. Unfortunately, a lot of the existing story has to go. Figuring out what to salvage is almost harder than writing from scratch. I can't just plunk something into a scene. It has to be seamless flow. Right now, reading the new and old together feels like a beginner trying to drive a car with a manual transmission.

Now I'm glad I wrote that synopsis. As I'm working through the MS, scenes are moving. I'm adding here and deleting there. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle. That's where the synopsis come in. It's a map to remind me where I'm headed.

I'm not whimpering or groaning yet. Sure, this rewrite is a lot of work, but it's writing work.