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Rewriting: Step One

rewrite.gifAfter recovering from the weekend's festivities, I finally coated myself with sun block and jumped into the deep end of the Surefire rewrite. But I've yet to actually write anything. I don't know how ya'll work, but for me, this is how it's going:

1) I've reread almost half the manuscript, making copious notes, and marking the glaring errors that my eyes couldn't see a month ago.

 2) I've added chapter numbers, just to help correlate where I am in my notes. I don't normally write with chapter headings or titles, just breaks.

 3) Marked a calendar as I read, making notes of the time and day of each scene, just to make sure the continuity wasn't screwed up somewhere. (It was).

4) I went ahead and created a chapter matrix showing the characters coming in and out, looking for and finding the blank spots where I really wonked on a bit too long from scene to scene with the main characters. Usually because I was excited about what was unfolding at that point in the draft, and in retrospect I really needed to flow a couple of the secondary characters back in. Can't have my protagonist getting too comfy, now can I?

5) Noted where I needed more exposition in the dialogue-heavy sections and where I was uncomfortably light on character activity (booooring) in the expository-heavy sections.

6) Confirmed or corrected facts. How many passengers on a 737-200? (111) How many rooms does a certain hotel have (4,000). That kind of thing.

This is my mad, fumbling way or getting through it. Look familiar? Aside from adding a bottle of scotch, how do you go about it?


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Reader Comments (2)

Hey, Jamie. There are some free timeline tools available for downlaod. Just type in timeline creator or maker and see what pops up. I have a friend who swears by them, but I can't remember which one she uses. I don't usually have trouble with the timeline, so haven't tried one yet, but I'm considering it for the current book.

If your process works for you, then that's what you do. :) I usually read through, making notes, and then I let it digest for a while. Sometimes my changes are wholesale throw out the chapter and rewrite, so I don't really refer to the notes much. I guess I look more for things like goals and conflicts. Are they strong enough? Is there enough of a problem here to justify the story, etc.

And I am pretty ruthless on backstory and infodumps. I tend to write it in, then have to go take it out again. The best advice I ever got was to think of backstory as phrases and lines, not paragraphs. :)
January 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Raye Harris
Thanks for the tips Lynn. I've seen a few timeline tools, but all the ones I've seen are PC-based and I'm on a Mac.

I'm using a split 3rd person narrative, and really just needed to grid it out a bit so I can see it on one page (or four). Easy enough to do analog--the old fashioned way.

I made a mad push to finish the draft, but now see that I really need to add more conflict to motivate and define my secondary characters.

I feel like I'm cooking. A little pinch supernatural here, a dash of angst there, bring to a steady boil...
January 25, 2006 | Registered CommenterJamie

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