The Point

It’s been a good six months since I posted here and during that time I’ve gotten a hell of a lot of work done on Wildfire, the second book in my series. When I last posted I thought I was about a third the way through the draft I wanted to create. Considering how far in I am now and how much is yet to come, you can count me as being a quarter of the way in back then. I’ve just hit a hundred thousand words and there are about forty thousand more yet to come.

Somewhere around chapter 35 I noticed a problem. Something that made perfect sense in the outlining stage was actually ridiculous. There was no reason for it to happen beyond extending the drama. That caused me to have to come up with a new plan to go forward with the book as it was a pivotal scene. The new plan was easy enough to come up with considering the characters involved and what I knew about them, but it did mean that a characterisation had to be made a lot less subtle than it had been as it was now a key part of the storyline. During the rewrites of those thirty-five chapters I amalgamated some of them, dropping their number down to twenty-nine, and edited them as I went along (adding that extra layer of shine that I’d been worrying about at the start of this process back in the February update). The chapters read a lot better now and they have a consistent style to them that is recognisably mine. So that’s two loads off my mind.

Once I’d finished editing, rewriting and reordering those chapters until they fit with my new plan I continued with the book and have now reached chapter 39 (which is ten chapters ahead of where I was when I hit chapter 35 before the edits, conversely). The next part of my outline is in nine sections and a lot of the conversation can be presented in several different orders, so I want to finish off each section before I decide how to arrange them into chapters. My outline, apart from this section and one other like it, is mostly set out into the chapters that it will take up, and I’ve been able to stick to that throughout so I’m glad I spent time on it, even if I did mess up one part of the story. It’s a lesson I won’t forget for the sequel.

There are some chapters that I’ve been looking at recently and I’m thinking of cutting them from the book entirely. In some cases I can probably have other characters pass by at relevant parts and see or hear the information passed on in those chapters. Others can be presented in flashback format or even by later conversation. I’m leaving it until the book is complete before I start rewrites and edits along those lines, and each one will be fully considered. I’d rather have too much to work with than too little after all.

And that’s me so far. Wildfire is coming along and I’m getting some serious writing done at least once a week which is difficult considering the amount of noise around here (we live near the university). I’m still enjoying writing this storyline and I’m still proud of what I’m achieving, and I think that’s kind of the point of all this.


4 thoughts on “The Point

  1. Wow, this was quite a bit of work there. I hate rewriting things – actually, I hate repeating things, in general 😛 – but I suppose it is a part of writing.
    I think someone mentioned it before, just be careful of overdoing things, in a sense of editing. Because then there is a tendency to doing it all the time and never really being satisfied with the outcome.

    • I know about overdoing things. Last time, before the rewrite, there was a subplot I removed and I did a word count on it after removing it. 32,000 words that I needn’t have bothered writing. That subplot found its way into this book in a much more manageable size, spread throughout the tale and even with some of its own chapters, and it still isn’t anywhere near as large as it was before.

      One of the things I’ve learned is that plotting things out beforehand allows me to not make mistakes like that again. Another is that when I find an error and need to go another way, to go back and thread the new ideas in from the beginning before going on with them. It allows for it to seem more natural and takes one thing off the editing list.

      By keeping the structure of the book mainly in the outlining stage (there are some cases where chapters containing different people might get swapped after writing because they work better that way) I get a good idea of what I’m doing before I even start writing properly. Put simply, before I was throwing the ingredients into a bowl, mixing them and hoping they turn into a cake; now, I’m following a recipe.

  2. Rewriting as you go along is always better than writing the whole thing, knowing you have to rewrite it in its entirety when you’ve finished. From my limited experience.

    • Exactly. There are some things I leave until later on in the edits (chapter two in my first book needed a massive rewrite as it bored me) but mostly I’ll keep things going as I write. If I find a connection between ideas or a better way to portray things, it’s better to go back and set these things up in some way than to just have them appear out of nowhere and have to try and justify them in the edits.

      And I never want to have to do an entire rewrite ever again.

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