23 Feb 2011

Finishing a new/old manuscript ...

We're having busy days now. I've just delievered a manuscript in my romance series, and the next three weeks is dedicated to finishing a new thriller. (It's not new, it's old, but it's new because it's not finished).
Sounds great, yes?
We've been working on this particular manuscript so long we just refer to it as The Manuscript.
Anan has been working on the characters and the text for a couple of months, and at one point he realized the whole thing has to be re-plotted. If that's a word.
What it means is that the story has flaws. Well, that's not much of a schocker. Every story has flaws - there's no such thing as a perfect story. Not if you start breaking it down.
So we have gone through the story scene by scene, and have now agreed on a storyline we are sure will work. Well ...
The first 80 or so pages are in good shape, I can see the story starting to connect. The manuscript is about 350 pages (we've cut out 50 already), and if the rest are in the same shape, we'll be finished in a week, or three ...
We even have an ending!
I can't wait to finish it - I've loved this story for so long, and I can now see the end nearing. It's really a matter of getting everything together, making if work - and hopefully it will fly!
Besides three weeks is all I have. I have to start on a new series-manuscript asap if I'm to finish before Easter. And I'm alone on those, so it's all on me!

13 Feb 2011

The hardship of rewriting ...

I'm sitting here with a manuscript I've gotten back from my editor. And although I very much appreciate her feedback and enduring encouragement, as well as her sense of language and drama - I'm not happy right now. It'll pass as soon as I've done the necessary rewriting - I'm sure - but I do not like it.
Some writers love rewriting, going over their words over and over again, cutting here, tweaking there - and I do. Sometimes. But mostly when it's done.
The rewriting is something that only you can do on your own manuscript. There's no substitute because the vision is yours and yours alone. So you have to accept all of it, all of the work going into a mansucript, everythying - warts and all.
These are warts from the manuscript: What time of year is this, and please write something about the nature. What are they wearing? Too much repetition. More drama and feeling (that's a popular one), more horror and fear. Another popular one is: no, no, no! Or you can't have person A doing ... when person B is ....
The list goes on.
Every time I figured that now I've got it, now I've cracked the formula or the secret, there's more. I'm learning to accept the process, I guess. I'm very oriented towards the end result, wanting to finish as soon as possible, so I can write something else. But that's not always the wise thing to do. Sometimes words has to be tweaked and cut, sometimes more than words, sometimes even whole pages, has to go.
The story is everything, and anything standing in the way of a smooth reading, just has to go out. It doesn't matter that I worked like a mad on those two pages - if they're wrong for the story.
So I am grateful for my editor who never lets on that she can sense my resentment or hurt feelings (they never last), and never gives up. There's an awful lot of inspiration in that feedback, and my novel is all the better for it.
If I can just get started on that blasted rewriting!

2 Feb 2011

Choices ...

I distrust choices. I don't like to make them, I get a headache from thinking about it, and I'm more than happy to let things work themselves out - go with the flow, so to speak.
Now I know this about myself. Making choices is hard, and mostly I'll do what's easiest at the moment. Then it doesn't interfere with what I really want to do: to write.
The irony of course, is that writing is all about choices.
You start with the idea; that one or that one? Then the characters: who are they, what do they do, how do they look, what to they want; then the story: what happens next?
There's an infinite number of "what happens next" - there's no clear path - just decisions.
Every choice will lead to another choice, there will be consequences in the text, leading to other choices.
If you're anything like me, you start with an idea, write until your fingers ache, and postpone the decisions until the editing process - and then you really have to start making choices.
And right now, it's making my head hurt.
I can't even decide whether or not to go to bed. Perhaps I'll just fall asleep on my keyboard, and that'll be that.
Or I could close my computer, go to bed, sleep, and go back to writing again sometime tomorrow afternoon. Or not. 
The birds are singing. It's five in the morning, and I ... oh ... I wonder if there's anything on the telly?