Post-Its to the Rescue!

One of the writing things I’ve noticed I’ve gotten better at with practice is how to let plot wind organically, from scene to scene, so that by the time a story gets to an emotional moment it’s earned it. I’ve always written my stories without a clear idea of how I’m going to get to Point X; it’s just that these days I have a better idea of how to get to Point X without using a transporter to skip parts I don’t think will be interesting.

I guess I’ve taught myself that all parts are interesting, if they lead to something worth experiencing?

I dunno.

Anyway. I am editing the (older) manuscript for Book 2 of Her Instruments, and am discovering that huge chunks of it are missing, something I should have intuited by noticing how short it is (375 pages? Really? Earthrise is over 420). In fact, enough of it is missing that I’m having trouble getting my brain around where to put all the stuff I need to add!

So this is my plan:

I am going to print out the book (something I should have done anyway) and label all the scenes in the problematic portion.

And then I am going to get a big sheet of paper and write those labels on post-its and stick them down. I’ll put them down and leave holes for where I think the holes are, and then give myself a chance to reorganize them visually.

Why am I bothering to figure out how to do this? Because Rose Point is 375 pages! Rewriting it when most of it is worth salvaging would be a waste of time. So I have to figure out how to let my organic writing process work when there’s already a framework that needs to be preserved. I figure sometimes you have to be creative with process if you want to learn something, and I’ve got something to learn here that I hope to apply to other partial drafts from a few years back that could use the help.

This should be an interesting exercise. I will photograph it when I’ve got it down! (Don’t worry, I’ll keep it fuzzy so you won’t get spoilers.)

  1. Watch yourself!

    I re-read Demon On The Beach after an extended (years long) hyatus and discovered first a missing bit that was about two lines long – but it began in the middle of one sentence and picked back up in the middle of the one after next.

    In the end I had to converge the text, read it, edit it, type up the edit, re print and repeat until there were no more missing bits! Took from 4 AM to 6 AM for much of a year (I left for work at 7:20 AM).

    Hopefully neither of us is at that stage, but do be careful – old work is not current work and the edit will be ‘heavy’.

    Good Luck

    Ed Buchan.

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