As mentioned in my last post I’ve been doing a major rewrite of Wildwood since the 14th of August. Unhappy with the way the book jumped around within chapters, I edited the entire format of the book, breaking it down into scenes and then writing each chapter as a plan that uses those scenes as well as new material to bridge them together. It’s been tough going but with these two parts done I’m about a third of the way into the story.
At the beginning of this exercise I saw this as merely a rearrangement, placing scenes in a new order and removing some others. It would be a quick job and require only a couple of word changes. As I got further into it I found myself writing as much as I was reordering. Each chapter had a new plan written that included some of the scenes I’d written as well as new content, and I moved those scenes into a folder with the plan to more easily write them. When each chapter was content complete I edited and rewrote entire chunks of it, so that it flowed a lot better, sometimes cutting out far more than was left and sometimes making a single line extend to a few paragraphs of detail.
As I went on I tried to bring some of my ancillary characters to the forefront a bit more, and gave them new scenes and motivations making them more than the deus ex machina they had been. Sometimes these people had small scenes extended into entirely new chapters and sometimes a hell of a lot of what was previously written was cut out. I knew not to cut entirely though and have been moving those cut pieces forwards to the next chapter with those characters, cherry-picking phrases and details that suit the chapter best and trying to work as much in as possible. Quite often these are the parts that benefit the most when I do my final edit on the chapter and rewrite the whole thing paragraph for paragraph.
At the moment I’ve just finished writing chapter 28 of my current revision, and am up to chapter 21 of my original manuscript (the original finished with 36 chapters). As you can no doubt tell there is quite a bit of new material, but also quite a bit of extraneous stuff removed. The largest subplot doesn’t get fully resolved until the third book and barely gets a mention in book 2 so I’ve removed it from Wildwood and will introduce it in book 2 instead, with a few hints in Wildwood that it will be coming. A side story involving a magical weapon was just bloody ridiculous once I read through it again so that also got removed. The vast majority of these subplots were contained in parts 2 & 3 so I found myself worried they’d be too light on content.
As it happens, even with these stories removed there is still a hell of a lot going on in these chapters and I may still have to remove one of my favourite subplots in order to make it flow better. With the other two subplots in place it was just messy and nothing really had room to happen naturally, which is an odd thing to say when talking about supernatural events.
As I said, chapter 22 and onwards of my original book is still waiting to be written (as chapters 29 and onwards of the new manuscript). These last four parts are only a few chapters each as we head towards the ending, and some of those are quite small. I know there is a lot of new stuff introduced that needs to be played off in these chapters but it shouldn’t take quite as long as the other parts have done as they total about a third of the book.
I probably won’t be writing another one of these until the chapters are completed in front of me. Of course, I’ll be having a KFC in front of me at the same time to celebrate. I actually quit the chicken of the gods while writing until I have a draft stage complete, keeping this ambrosia as a reward for actually finishing what I’ve started.
See you next time guys, girls and dark gods of R’lyeh.