Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tea and Revisions

It's after 3 in the morning and I'm having a cup of tea while reading through my Shivers manuscript. Overall, I have to say it's fairly clean. I'm thrilled about that, since most of the time my first drafts are an utter mess.

Anyway, I just finished reading the last page about fifteen minutes ago, and decided to jot down a few thoughts on my blog for anyone who might be interested in reading about how I'm breaking down this particular short story and revising it.

Earlier, while doing the read-through (this is my first pass), I made it a point to jot little notes in the margins of the manuscript whenever I found something majorly broken. Some things I classify as majorly broken: missing scenes (scene gaps), time inconsistencies, changes in plot direction, a radical shift in story theme, and a character whose identity or purpose has changed midstream. In other words, BIG stuff. Those are the things I look for when I do a first round read through.

I also highlighted any insignificant tiny, easy-to-miss errors, so I won't accidentally overlook them on a subsequent pass. For example: whenever I've found a "wrong word" used, such as places where I've accidentally typing their instead of there, or whatever. I highlight those mistakes just to make a note of them since my spell check will likely skip over them later. However, I haven't gone around changing anything yet. I haven't rearranged any paragraphs, or rewritten any sentences. I'm not ready to change anything at this point. Not to the big stuff. Not to the small stuff.

About half way through this particular story, I found a loop in the timeline where it seems like I have two different ideas for conveying the same information. These two scenes are similar, so I'm going to have to decide whether to cut one scene entirely, combine those scenes into one large scene and smooth them out, or divide them into two separate scenes with distinct scene goals.

It looks like in the overall scheme of things, that section will be the one big fix needed to shape up this story. Nothing to fuss about, really. I simply need to decide how I want to handle the changes. (And I prefer to wait about making any decisions until after I've had a few hours of sleep, and then some coffee when I'm up and about again. Heh.)

The only other thing I see that needs changing is a short scene a few pages before the time loop. There's nothing technically wrong with the other scene, but it didn't grab me for some reason. Not enough at stake, I think. It reads more like a diversion than a real road block for my heroine. Whatever the case, I realized I didn't care for that scene very much, and wanted to skip it while reading. So, that one will either be cut or rewritten, too.

And there you have it, what I'll be working on for my first round of revisions this weekend. Once I've made those BIG changes, I'll be ready to read through my manuscript again, and start cleaning up the grammar. (Which is not my strong point, but I do the best I can.) During that time, I'll also make notes on any areas where my sentences need variation.

I'll post more as I work my way through the manuscript. Hopefully I'll have this story cleaned up and submission ready by the end of next week. That's all for now. Happy weekend!

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