Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

Well, NaNoWriMo is over. No more plotting. No more murdering. No more writing. And I have no idea what my next project will be. Therefore, I don't know what to blog about.

I definitely think that revision is something that need to revisit. I think I sort of threatened to revise something, but never actually did. The question then comes down to what to revise. "Revise the story you just wrote!" you might say. But I find that it's best to step away from a project for a while before diving back into it. You've just spent plenty of time with it. You have to let it breathe for a bit before you force into a new shape.

I have a lot of first drafts. I think that's probably a given at this point. I could choose any one of them to try to fix. The trick is how. I can usually tell that a certain scene, or character, or plotline isn't working. But I couldn't tell you what would work. Obviously, if I knew, I would have done that in the first place.

Some things I really need to work on are pacing and following that plot diagram.

  • Pacing is how fast a story progresses. Mine tend to drag on and on, trying to get every word I can. Works great for NaNo, not so great for readability.
  • The plot diagram is that whole rising action, climax, resolution thing. I've done a lot of research on it, but I can never manage to get a story to follow it. So that's on my to-do list.

Basically, I'm trying to reach a point where my stories look like actual stories. Instead, they're just a series of, well, unfortunate events. And a string of terrible things does not a story make.

So when it comes to revision, I have to somehow pick out the parts that actually matter (which is not the same as the parts I actually like), and I have to fit them into some semblance of a structure. I hope that I can make this clear for the people who always tell me, "Why don't you just revise your rough drafts and publish them?" It's not just an issue of fixing a few spelling a grammar errors. I have to take this nonsense stew of words, carefully scoop out the things that matter, and hope there's enough there to make an actual book. But how do I know what the important things are? And how do I fill in the gaps to make a fulfilling literary bisque? If I knew how to write the story better, I would have done that to begin with.

So maybe we'll try revision. Maybe we won't. Maybe I'll try to write some short stories to submit at the end of January. That is how we got started here in the first place.

I'll see you Friday.

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