Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting it wrong - and making it better

Well, I'm still revising. And seeing things that I really wasn't aware of and making them better. What I'm concentrating on at the moment is story, and the way that I've managed to tangle everything.
As an example, I have done the following:
Had a situation where the h & h need to get urgent help from the police...and are dirty, cut, and hungry.
Which of these problems should they sort out first and in what order?
Needless to say, I got it wrong. They had showers, ate a casserole, then called the police. I started 'widening my eyes in disbelief' as I read it. Can't they multitask?

How could they function, without dealing with the most stressful item first? How could they have thoughts in the shower about anything else than the most pressing question, and how could they sit and talk, without dealing with it? It read wong. Their emotions didn't make sense.
Anyway, after frantic rewriting, they called the police, washed and dealt with their medical issues, then ate something. This meant that rather than being clean and full and still stressing about bringing in the big guns, they were able to stop flip-flopping about emotionally and sit down at the table knowing they'd done what needed to be done to continue the story. The emotions read clearer, better, and the connection between them is more real and honest.
Five chapters in now, and continuing to tell their story, rather than barrel along the plot. I'm hoping I've got it right, but am worried because when I sent this story out I was confident, and couldn't see the tangle as I'm seeing it now.
Read, revise, polish and re-read. That's my motto this month.
Then re-read again before sending them out into the fray again. No crossed fingers, no superstitions, just solid application to the craft of writing, and hopefully this time, success.


  1. Definitely the police first. Showers and hunger usually wait until after the major event.

    It's strange how we miss so much in our work. After a crit or reading over a few times and editing the penny drops. It makes one's work much tighter and stronger.

    All the best with the rest of your edits.

    Suzanne :)

  2. Go Sally! It's true that sometimes you can't see something that should be incredibly obvious - and in fact is to crit partners. And then you think, how can I have missed that??
    I'm still missing things but I guess that's what crit partners are for. And editors! Lol.

  3. I love rereading and wondering what on earth I was thinking when I wrote something. I like to blame others for distracting me, otherwise I'd have to have myself committed :P

    Happy rewriting!

  4. Ooh intriguing stuff. Police and food? I want to read it! But I think you're right... police then shower, unless of course the police are really hot stuff! Don't wanna stink :)

    Am just about to start rereading a mss of mine... wonder what I'll find??

  5. I love re-reading something and wondering 'what on earth was I thinking' because it reminds me what revisions are all about. I hate them, so being reminded they're necessary is always good.

    Sounds like you got the order sorted now :-)

    I just read Maisey's blog and having the characters do what they would do rather than what we want them to do is excellent advice (from her ed). I'm going to try and keep it in mind.

  6. Hi all. Powering through them now - doing a Maisey! (revisions, not baby, been there, done that!)