December 18, 2009

Making it shiny

Comments are starting to come back from crit partners and betas so my mind is turning back to the book. I'll get Miriam's comments later today but she's given it the tick of approval (not that the tick of approval means no more work needed lol).

So work on draft three will begin soon. For me the process goes something like this:

Draft 1 - write version of book that is way short (about 75% of what it should be) and full of people talking and severely lacking in setting and description etc. Early in this process do a collage and a soundtrack.

Revision pass 1 (to get to draft two) - read draft 1 and make notes to self about stuff that is missing, stuff that doesn't make sense, threads that need to be picked up etc and many comments along the lines of "expand" "what the heck are these people wearing" and "setting please". Start thinking about solutions to some of these problems. Then I generally cut down the soundtrack and maybe add a few new songs to it and perhaps fiddle with the collage or make another one if I need to though I didn't do that this time. If there's structural stuff I want to do (ie shift stuff around or make major story line changes or fix pacing etc) or if I don't quite feel I've got a handle on the book, I write a synopsis because that helps me see it a little more clearly. Then I get to work putting a lot of stuff in, circling back to layer stuff, cleaning up the language and getting it to the point where I'm not ashamed to let people see it. I prefer to revise fast but it takes as long as it will take.

Draft 2 goes to my agent and my crit buddies (either in full or bits) and any other beta readers. While they read, I chew my fingernails, become convinced the book is terrible and that my agent will sack me and try and distract myself by working on other stuff. The back brain also goes to work on the things that I think are still not quite right with the book.

The next revision pass depends on what the comments are and what my thoughts are. There might be structural things, there might be just polishing and tightening, there might be worldbuilding to solidify or subplots to tweak. I have my views on what the book needs right now and I'm waiting to see what else the readers see that I just can't. So while I wait, now that I have some comments, I'm going to do some revision prep:

1. Do the first draft of the synopsis and a scene outline. This gets the "what happens" back in my head and shows me the POV balance and timeline.

2. Play with the soundtrack some more. The muse is still happy with the collage, so apparently I nailed that early on this time.

3. Do some braindumping/free writing about the comments and my concerns to see what turns up.

4. Whatever else the muse tells me to (look for images, watch certain films or tv shows.

5. Possibly bore people who gave me comments with questions and discussions.

Then I'll do the next pass (and probably start to hate the book again and whine a lot) and it will go back to Miriam. Hopefully she won't want another pass but you never know. If she does then, it'll be lather, rinse, repeat until I get it right.

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