Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Inertia of Words

I cut the work-in-progress in half and threw away the end.

Well, sort of.

I just saved it to another file. I intend to do a lot of copying and pasting in pulling the rest of the story together again. (I'm not going to type from scratch, even though I've done that before and it is useful.)

The reason I did this is because I had another great idea to take care of one last bit of nonsense. I have some secondary characters I need to get on and off stage at various times, and so far I've been treating them like a sack of potatoes. You know you dump them in the scene, and then you put the away for a while, and they obediently sit in the cupboard.

The problem is that I had one last character I was treating with this kind of convenience, and I don't think he would sit nicely in the cupboard. So I rearranged some scenes, let George commit a bit of mischief and sent the guy away on an errand. And that gives me all kinds of excuses for other things. (And forced me to move some other scenes.)

The problem with this kind of rewriting is that there is inertia to words. It's hard to get a grasp on a new feel and a new approach when the words are sitting right there, doing their job pretty well. The words see no reason to change. They've got seniority. But they don't have a contract or a union, so you may have to kick them all out and hire them back one at a time to do the job the new way.

I have twenty chapters to put back in - but I do have most of the material written, and most of the rest will be fun. So it shouldn't take that long. But considering that I have to give each of these chapters a lot of attention (and there is more new material than I expected) I think I should set a goal of trying to get a chapter a night back in place. Some of these will be partials, and I'll be working on the new material in a more haphazard fashion.

For tonight, I sat there with the old manuscript and new notes, and I wrote a chapter outline for each of the remaining chapters. It was a lot of work, and I had to re-replan a few sequences. I think, though, I now have a complete set of scenes that flow from one to the other properly. I may have one clue subplot to weave in, but I did leave a little space for that.

No critiques done today.

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