03 August 2011 @ 11:38 am
Revision is a battlefield  
And lately some of the casualties have been a couple of scenes I always liked and a character who, honestly, sort of annoys me.  But fortunately I've discovered a few foxholes, like a couple of scenes with a new character I like more than I expected, or a way to rearrange the plot in a way that both speeds up the lagging pace of the novel and also salvages what I liked best about my favorite deleted scene.

Another casualty of the revision process lately has been my confidence.  I've been saying for years that I think this is my most readily marketable novel.  This is the first one I plotted out in advance, and it has series potential but stands alone, and it does a lot of things I want the novel to do.  AND I'm suddenly not sure that I'm doing it justice yet.

I've been vicious with this revision.  I've looked at every scene and asked what it actually accomplishes, what purpose it serves, if it puts me to sleep rereading it.  A lot of scenes have simply been slashed out of existence because of that last reason.  And now I'm wondering:  If, after 7 years of living with this novel and thinking about this novel, I have deleted about a third of it, what's to say that after another 7 years of living with it, I wouldn't realize another third of it needed to go?

This morning while I was doing some mundane stuff at my paying job, I got to thinking about the main conflict in my novel and started wondering if it's really as compelling as I think.  What if the "bad guys" are right?  Will readers look at the situation and go, "You know, they have a point.  Why IS it that way?  Who actually benefits from this situation, and why shouldn't they try to change it?"  Because that's absolutely NOT the reaction I want.  But maybe I'm setting myself up for that.

It isn't enough to tell a good story.  I want the story to make sense.  I want the conflict to tug at readers' guts and make them root for the good guys.  And suddenly I wonder if I'm doing that.
Current Mood: worried
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[identity profile] kosmickway.livejournal.com on August 3rd, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
I'm at that point with mine, too, actually ... reading it and wondering "is this REALLY going to appeal to my readers or does this just seem fantastic and emotionally challenging and spot-on because I wrote it?"

I think we all get to that point in our writing at some point where we've lived with it for so long that we start getting overly critical of it and even can't stand the sight of it for awhile.

When I find scenes like that I cut/paste them into a document that I just title "Reworkables" and leave them for later. I don't touch it for a few months. Then I go back in and really take a look at the scenes, at where I wanted them to go, at what I thought they would accomplish and see if it actually works after some time away from it. And a lot of times it does ... it just needed time to breathe away from my critical eye. I recently added one of the scenes from the "Reworkables" document back in to the manuscript and it got me over a huge case of writer's block.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't do too much slashing and hacking just now ... do some cutting and pasting and tweaking and reworking and see what happens. Come back to the reworkables scenes later and see where they take you. I bet that they're valuable to the story ... you just can't see how so right at the moment.

I hope you start feeling better about your work soon. But know this ... you are a fantastic writer who has no reason whatsoever to doubt her work or her creative prowess.

[identity profile] stephaniecain.livejournal.com on August 5th, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this much needed encouragement. I've taken a couple of days off revision to write the beginning of a new story and to watch movies last night. I think I'll be able to approach this with a fresh attitude next.

I definitely never delete scenes without having them backed up. In fact, I have digital copies of the past three drafts of this novel, I believe, so none of those scenes are irretrievably lost.

Some of those scenes, though, I promise, are entirely pointless. There is a little bit of character development, but that's easily moved into other scenes that have more purpose plot-wise. I'm not trying to write a literary novel here. *G* It's urban fantasy. That needs action. :)

<3 You are awesome.
http://lar_laughs.livejournal.com/: Danbo - waiting for coffee[identity profile] lar_laughs.livejournal.com on August 4th, 2011 03:36 am (UTC)
And what if some readers think that? You're showing one point of view. You make it accessible. Don't doubt that point of view. it's yours. Own it! If you believe it, others will, too.
[identity profile] stephaniecain.livejournal.com on August 5th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
You're right, but I also think this is at least a semi-valid worry. I do believe there is, or that at least in the historical beginning of this situation, there was a real symbiotic benefit to all parties. It's just a few malcontents who are deprived of power by this situation who are trying to take advantage of it. For now I just am trying to figure out how to show that without a gazillion pages of backstory, and how to make it matter to the reader.

Thanks for your encouragement. :)