AJ Revises: T-29

Rip, rip, rip. Shred, shred, shred. I’m not even at the manuscript yet, and already what I remember is getting rewritten, or at least restructured. New scenes are being outlined and even added so I can keep up with a 500-words-per-day word count (and while I could write something else… I really don’t want to right now).

I’m keeping on a-reading Plot & Structure, and right now I’m using chapter 7 (scenes) extensively. I may even write up a checklist for myself to pop up whenever I need a reminder of where I should be going within one, because scenes are the building blocks of plot. And I know I need to work on my plotting extensively.

Thanks to Scrivener’s mass folder copy procedure, I’ve been able to back up my NaNoWriMo draft out of the way, and started working in the main manuscript space again. I’m using the freeform index card corkboard, which helps immensely, as I’m not even working within chapters now, at least not until I add about three times the number of scenes I currently have. I’ve also added more meta-data fields for tracking scene intensity, story progress (which should be renamed “goal”), themes, and revision notes. I’m bypassing excuses for writer’s block by using double brackets to indicate something that needs to be researched or thought out.

With scenes being written out of order, this will make at least the next revision a little harder as I need to make sure everything is stitched together properly and inconsistencies or repeated background smoothed out. This is going to be a lot of hard work, but for once I feel up to it.

I do wonder, though, if I should hold off longer before declaring any particular draft within, say, the next year as final. I read about the amount of revision that professional authors engage in, sometimes going on for years, and I wonder: if I continue to revise and rewrite for that long, would the work be better off for it? Am I moving too quickly? The answer is almost certainly yes.

But what about turning this concept of writing a novel on its head: instead, write a serial with shorter arcs, and a few long-running ones, and improvise more? At 500 words a day, this may be more viable if I want to release sooner—at the cost of a refined product. Which could be a particularly high cost indeed if I don’t do this right, or at least, right enough. And since I’m writing scenes all out of order, this doesn’t seem particularly wise either.

However, focusing on shorter arcs may help me focus on not writing scenes too far into a future that may change drastically. It’s an odd thing, but I work best with a confined space.

Decisions, decisions.