Monday, January 11, 2010

Never Look Back!

When I first started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. Most days I still feel that way. There's one big thing I'm doing differently now than I did even during the last draft.

Making changes.

Before, I'd finish everything before going back and making changes. I'd finish a chapter, I'd finish the book. I've come to realize that it takes more time to go back and change a lot of writing, than it is to go back and change a little. This time around, when I want to make a change, I'm not going to back. I'm just adding that change in right now.

Because, really, it won't be long before I go over it and fix things. That's the beauty of revising as you go. Of course, my revising is slower than my writing, and I only revise on weekends. You'd think that'd give me more time to work on my book. ERNGH! Wrong.

For example, Ch. 3 ended with a deal being made. One of my readers groaned as she read it and said "That's so predictable. I was hoping for THIS." And she went on to discuss her "this" and then I got thinking about it, because I hadn't liked my "that" and we worked it out.* Of course, I didn't go back and change it right away. I made notes on how to change it, then dived right into Ch. 4 as if the changes had already been made.

Another example: in Ch. 7 we're introduced to a minor character. Before, he'd been a name, but he'd never had a face attached to him. Then, further along in the chapter, I realized my cast was starting to feel too testosterone laden, and made this note; "CHANGE AVERY TO GIRL.** TOO GUY HEAVY ALREADY." Just like that. Only without the quotes (or the asterisks). Then I continued on my way, writing as if I'd already implemented the change to the beginning of the chapter.

Now, instead of having to re-write the end of one chapter and nearly the entirety of another, I just have to rework the end. Instead of having to re-write another, entire chapter, I just have to make a couple changes to the beginning. See how much time, effort, and pain work I've saved myself?

The trick is going to be staying on top of those revisions. I can only make oh-so many notes on my whiteboard before I run out room.

*This and That added where plot spoilers would otherwise be. =)
**Really cool thing was I figured out that the name of the girl Avery will be Lyvia. I suck with naming my characters (I had a villain that went through two drafts as NAME before we found a one that fit him well), so thinking this one up and being happy with it pleases me to no end.

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