Fountain pens and other useless diatribes
March 28, 2009
I'm pleased with how it turned out actually. I'll need to use the rewrites to flesh out the characters and sneak in a few more red herrings, but on the whole I am rather pleased!
So, keeping in the Stephen King tradition, I shall allow the manuscript to ferment. Like leaving a pie on the window sill to cool. Yum... I like pie!
OK - focus. Now that's finished, I need to take my mind off the draft and think about something else so when I come back to it, I'll be coming with a fresh mind and I'll be able to spot flaws I otherwise wouldn't see.
How? Well, since you asked:
The logical thing would be to take a break from writing. Ease the creative muscles and all that jazz. But when has logic ever factored into my writing???
So I'm going to start work on a sequel.
I figure once I've immersed myself in that, it will be easy to come back to GA with a fresh mind.
I've got an idea for a premise. True story. It happened in Austria. I read about it on a news website. Note to everyone: if you're ever stuck for inspiration, just read the bloody newspaper! Real life is always better than anything you could think of.
Anyway, this actor in Austria accidentally slit his own throat on stage because the fake knife he was using turned out to be a real one! Idiot...
The police are questioning people, but they think all that happened was that the prop guy forgot to blunt the blade after he bought it. It still had the bloody tag on it!
Now, I think the whole thing would be a lot more interesting if there was evil afoot! Someone obviously tried to bump him off! I remember while I was reading the article, all I could think was:
"Well, I hope the understudy has an alibi..."
So I'll get to work on that, but before I do, I'd like to re-post a few revision tips. I posted this a little while ago (in April I believe) and this is just me reminding myself of the revision process; and informing readers of my intentions once my MS is done maturing (like cheese!)
1. I print out the MS on 3-hole-punch paper, which I then place in a handsome binder (Black, since you asked).
2. I sit down with the binder, and a notebook with the title - Reasons for Shame.
3. My first trip through the MS is a copyedit - red-pen city.
4. As I'm copyediting, the bigger problems (many of which were nagging at me even before I got to this point) leap off the MS, grab me by the ears, and demand to know how a hack like me dares call herself a writer.
5. I overcome my shame and begin a list of these bigger problems (characters that go away for too long, voices that change, motivations that seem powerful in Ch1 but pitiful by Ch10, etc.) in my notepad.
6. OK, the copyedit is done and I've got a list of shame-inducing problems. I create a new electronic draft, zip through it and input my edits.
7. I print the dang thing again.
Treehugging Tip: Just flip the paper over and run it through the ol' printer.
I don't do this. If God didn't want us cutting down trees, he would have given them super powers.
8. Now I have to read it again, while eyeballing my notes. I use all my self control to avoid further copyediting (if I let myself, I could merrily copyedit the same draft for the next hundred years). By now, I am painfully aware of the story's shortcomings; the goal this time through is to flag problems (HE TALKED LIKE A GANGSTER IN CH2, NOW HE'S TALKING LIKE WILLIAM F. FRIGGING BUCKLEY) and jot down ideas for new scenes (WHERE THE HELL IS FRANK, HAVEN'T SEEN HIM FOR 60 PAGES).
9. I write the God-damned new scenes, even though I'm a God-damned hack who couldn't land a God-damned piece in the God-damned SMH Heckler if my God-damned life depended on it.
10. I ask my readers if maybe I'm being a little hard on myself.
11. They say no.
PS - if anyone can think of a better title than my working one, will you let me know? Goodnight Angel was a fine working title, but it doesn't strike the right note, I think.