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revising

Q. Do You Have Deadlines?

IMG_7090A. Yes. I have one today, actually, and I’m missing it.

My editor Kate Jacobs and I keep in touch regularly about my progress with my drafts, and we mutually agree about when I have one due, based on what stage the book is in and how much revising needs to happen.

For instance, I’m currently working on the 5th draft of Vault 3, and when I began it back in July, I thought I could turn it in by today. I started realizing last weekend, however, that I was… Continue reading

Summer Revising

Version 2Since it’s summer and I spent decades in school, the schedule in my bones tells me I ought to be on vacation. I’m not, of course. I have work like the other grownups, so my bones have to be quiet and let me concentrate.

Today, I’m working on draft 5 of Vault 3, and the current challenge has to do with taking my existing scenes deeper and finding a way to thread in one of my characters who has so far preferred to stay on the sidelines. It’s tricky… Continue reading

Unknown Girl

foggy bathroom mirror

Mirror Mind

Part of the trouble with writing a new book involves unlayering a new side of yourself, a thinking you’ve never tried. These characters haven’t existed before in this way, for this book, and the sole place to look them up is inside, in the foggy places.

For me, it’s like meeting an unknown version of myself and gradually becoming her. My Vault 2 people are back there in my mind. I saw their exterior actions and speeches when they showed up in the first draft, but now as… Continue reading

Draft 13 and the Crunch Schedule

Draft 13, Track Changes.

Draft 13, Track Changes. No page is untouched.

Since my first editor originally told me that the manuscript for my new novel was due to go to copyedits last October, and my second editor told me in early November not to worry about deadlines and take my time rewriting the last act of the novel, (about 130 pages), I assumed that my book had been bumped a season to 2015.  Season bumps have happened to me before, so I didn’t think much about it.

Then, in mid-January, when I… Continue reading

Ripples

RipplesWhen you throw a stone in the water, the ripples spread outward in predictably widening circles.  When you throw a stone in a novel, it has ripple effects, too, especially if the stone kills somebody off.  This makes sense as long as I’m writing from the beginning to the end of a novel, in order, but sometimes when I’m revising, I add an event later in the book and realize I have to go back in, earlier, to set it up.  In such a case, I’m working… Continue reading

Listening to Voices

WoodsLooking over my shoulder the other day, my son asked me if the scene I was revising was the scene I’d revised most in the entire novel, because, according to him, every time he looks over my shoulder, that’s the scene I’m on.  Frankly, at this point, I have no idea which scene I’ve revised the most.  All I know is the scene needed more work.

Here’s how one of my scenes evolves through revision.  At first, the characters say somewhat random things that I write down,… Continue reading