Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scene surveys and string cheese

I'm about halfway through a scene-by-scene survey that's the first step of this novel revision. Does every scene move the plot forward? Does it have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and is there conflict? A lot of the ideas for this process come from here; though I don't plan to make this a one-pass revision, I'm finding many of the points useful. I'm also finding that most of my scenes are on the right track, which is a nice surprise since I'm naturally more of a character and voice kind of gal. So far, I've only had to go in and Give the Scene More Conflict once; apparently, plotting and pacing aren't the stumbling blocks they used to be. Thanks, Simmons!

Though most other revisions will happen after this pass, I am fixing minor issues as I notice them. I've repaired the continuity of a scene involving food sharing, and can sleep better knowing it's now clear which character originally owned the string cheese. I'm also trying to question every line's purpose, even (or especially) lines that have been in the draft for months and months. Sometimes, it's hardest to convince these lines to move out of the way. But once I reassure them that they'll live on in the drafts I have backed up, they listen to reason.

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