Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

More of a short-ish update on my progress with the story than anything – currently, I’m undertaking the reworking prep stage, which consists of very extensive planning before I start the reworking (bringing the story from a draft to a manuscript). The prep stage has three goals:

- Working out little details that are necessary to the story (for example, making sure all dates are correct).

- Research and fact-checking (I already did quite a bit of research in the preliminary planning stage, but that was just enough to write the story convincingly. The drafts were about the storyline itself while the reworking is more about making it publishable).

- Scene work (figuring out where the story is going to start, where it’s going to end, and which scenes stay and go. Currently, I’m making the second draft scenebook, which records all scenes in the story in order – they will most likely not remain in that order).

Since I am trying to get the series back down into one book for publication (for several reasons), these stages consider the entire story as a whole and completely stop differentiating the two volumes.

Right now, I have “Life in Black and White” as the final manuscript’s actual title, with “Resolution” and “It’s All Inside My Head” (I love this title too much to get rid of it) as the part titles. I’m not going to lie, getting back into the one-book mindset after it being a two-part series for so long is kind of weird and difficult, but I’m starting to get used to it. I know this is what’s best for the story going into publication (it’s EXTREMELY difficult to get an agent to accept a series from a new author, among other reasons I’m going with one book in the end), and it’s a step forward – even though it feels like a step backward sometimes.

In closing, three small tips for writers who are envisioning the editing process (or starting it) for the first time:

1. Everything they’ve told you about editing is true. It’s not always longer than the writing process (it wasn’t for me), but it is definitely ten times harder. It’s no longer the fun and games you enjoyed while writing the first draft. Editing with the intent of getting published is serious business, and it’s truly a process (at times rewarding, at times very frustrating) – so if you’re not serious about the story you want to edit, my advice would be to either start writing something you’re more serious about or just be content with the first draft.

2. Things are going to change, and that’s okay. Look at your story as objectively as possible when editing (get input from people you trust or a critique team if necessary). No matter how much you love a scene, if it’s doing absolutely nothing for the story it probably shouldn’t be in there.

3. Most people have to revise their story three, four or even five times before it’s ready. It’s probably still not going to be perfect in your eyes the first time you edit it – and listen to your gut. If you’re not satisfied with it, it’s not ready to go.

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