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Posts Tagged ‘POV’

Woo Hoo!

I just finished the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM!

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Well, not completely finished. I still need to do another read-through to make sure I didn’t mess anything up with cut and paste, etc. Probably best if I wait a few days to start that, though. And then it’ll be ready to go to my critique partners–always assuming I don’t find anything else in that read-through, of course.

There was one minor plot thing that I decided to change at the end of the story and a few places where I needed to get deeper into the characters’ emotions. One revision of an unnecessarily complex sentence into two. And a couple of additions that just mirrored something earlier in the story.

But the revision I saved for last was neither of those. In his first POV chapter (Chapter 3), I had deliberately left one of the characters  from the first book anonymous in his first POV chapter. Deliberately because he’s been “lost” so long he doesn’t even remember who he was. In the next chapter in which he appears (Chapter 7), he’s asked who he is and dredges up a name that’s almost–but not quite–right. Then the question emerged: which name should be used in narration until he finally recovers his right name? Especially in his POV chapters. There was a difference of opinion among my critique partners and I had to decide how I wanted to handle it. In his POV chapters keep using the wrong name, or use the right one?

Using the wrong name in his POV chapters felt like highlighting his confusion, but also like it might be overly confusing for readers who might have picked up Book 2 first or just not remember Book 1 all that clearly.

Then I took a look at the chapters. Well, the first time this character gets called by his right name to his face is Chapter 17–and he’s very confused by it. And the first time he actually accepts that that is his real name is Chapter 31. That skates way too close to withholding for my tastes. Withholding is one of my big pet peeves that makes me (as a reader) feel that the author isn’t being honest with me. And that ruins the willing suspension of disbelief. And so, now he’s called, in narration at least, by his right name right from Chapter 3.

I think that’s much better.

 

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That went faster than I expected. I finished the read-through of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM yesterday.

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This is just my process, but in a read-through, I’m looking for several things–some of which I can fix as I go.

  1. Inconsistencies. It took about five to six months to write this first draft, with two major breaks in which I worked on revisions to BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING. BecomeCover2Sometimes, I described the same thing slightly differently in different places, written at different times. I need to reconcile those descriptions. Some places that was easy and I’ve already fixed it. Others will take a little more thought–and maybe some deletions.
  2. Things I need to reduce or delete. This can be as simple as discovering that, over the months it took to write the first draft, I’ve put some detail in more than once, especially too close together–and one of them will have to go. Or as complex that discovering a scene–rarely a whole chapter–is just not necessary and it messes with the pacing. Fortunately, I don’t think I have anything major this time, but there are a couple of instances of the former I’ll need to deal with.
  3. Things I need to add. My first drafts tend to be pretty spare of description. And sometimes when writing dialog I don’t stop even to put in dialog tags, let alone some interaction with the setting to keep the scene from becoming two disembodied heads talking in a white space. So, in the read-through I mark those. There are other, subtler, things too. Places where I have one tiny action that could–and should–have a tiny reaction in the next scene. Or places where it would be really easy to have a character find an answer to a question–even if it’s not a very important question. Or only important to them.
  4. Places where I need to add a lot more reaction, more emotional depth for one of the characters. Yeah, I have a few of those I need to go back to. Also, places where the POV character’s emotions in the first draft might not be quite right–or not complex enough.
  5. Sometimes even places where I may want to adjust the plot a bit. I don’t think I have any of those in this story, though. On the other hand, I don’t always find all the things that need to be adjusted in the first read-through. Sometimes I don’t even find them until after I get the critiques back.
  6. Smaller details, like showing a particular aspect of the story in a minor way earlier on so it doesn’t come as a complete surprise when it turns out to be important later on. Sometimes just reminding myself that there are other characters in the scene and I shouldn’t allow them just to fade into wallpaper.
  7. Probably other things I’m not remembering right now, too.

So, now I’ve got those things–at least the ones I found on the first read-through–marked up. The next thing to do is to go through and try to deal with as many of those as I can. That can take multiple passes because some things are a little more complex to work out than others. Then another read-through and I think it will be ready for my critique partners to take a look at so they can find the things I didn’t even see because I’m too close to it.

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I’ve started the first revision pass on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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The first pass is usually mostly a read-through, maybe fixing small stuff and mostly getting a feel for what work needs to be done.

However, in this case, the first chapter was a train wreck. Well, maybe not that bad, and maybe no quite an infodump, but very much tell rather than show.

That first chapter had been added on the advice of one of my critique partners who’d read the early chapters. For a couple of reasons:

  1. Otherwise the book starts with a chapter from the point of view of a brand new character never even mentioned in the first book. Now the book starts in the POV of one of the major characters from BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.BecomeCover2
  2. That critique partner felt that it was a good idea to provide the reader with a quick orientation as to where the story left off in the first book, since the first few chapters would be from the POV of characters who weren’t in the first book or were not important characters in that book.

So, I basically rewrote that chapter, adding in a little more conflict. Something I wouldn’t normally do during a rewrite. I’m not positive I’ve got it right, yet. But that’s why the revisions are a multi-step process. I do know it’s better than it was before.

From here, hopefully, the read-through will proceed more normally.

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Last post I was on Chapter 43 of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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I am currently on Chapter 44. So, as I said in my last post, this bit has slowed me down a little. In fact, I’m reminding myself–or trying to–that this part doesn’t have to be good, doesn’t have to be my best writing–yet. It’s a first draft. I’m reminding myself of Shannon Hale’s great quote on the subject of first drafts about shoveling sand into a box in order to be able to build castles later.

However, looking ahead, I believe there are only about six chapters left after this one. And I have all of them in my rolling outline. One or two of those could split for various reasons, like a change of POV character. Still, that’s two to three more weeks at recent speed and way ahead of my projected schedule.

And that’s very good news for how the rest of the schedule for this book could go. If I can complete it by the end of July–or thereabouts. Then August becomes the month of rest for this manuscript. (I’ll likely be starting a rewrite of MAGE STORM during that time.) Then September for the revisions. And out to my beta readers in October–which is a very good goal to try for because November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and some of my beta readers probably wouldn’t be available. And December is . . . well, December. Everybody’s busy. That would leave November/December for final revisions and the polishing edit. It might even be possible that this would be published in December, but January becomes a very good bet.

After the sometimes tooth-pulling experience of getting the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING done,

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this one has been really fun. And fast.

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The Pace Continues

Last post, I had started Chapter 41 of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Now I’ve started Chapter 43.

Chapter 41 was a lot of fun. And Chapter 42 had a lot of emotion. Now, Chapter 43 has slowed me down a little. It’s a change of POV and location. And another case of a planned chapter that split into two because I decided I needed both POVs.

It’s also . . . well, some chapters I just have to write my way into. This looks like being one of those. It’s also a bit of a break after the emotional ride of the last two chapters–a chance to catch the breath before things start getting more serious. In more ways than one. Because the climax is only a handful of chapters away, now–assuming no more chapters end up being more than one chapter, like this one did.

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Let’s see, last post I had started Chapter 39 in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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I have now started Chapter 41, which is still well ahead of schedule. (The goal was two chapters a week and I post twice a week. So, really, I’d be on schedule if I’d only written one chapter in that time frame.)

I’ve actually written a little more than that. Chapter 40 ended up being split when I realized the scene I’d just written more properly belonged a little later in the narrative. So, I cut and pasted and moved it to a new chapter to a new Chapter 46, where it sits by itself until I get to that chapter.

But the real fun is the chapter I’m writing now. The POV character is Mariel, who was an important character in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING and is more of a side character in the sequel.

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She is one of the more patient and mild-mannered characters–normally. But she’s just hit the end of her tether and is about to unleash her–considerable–wrath over a wide swath of people she doesn’t think have come up to snuff in the current situation. People who mostly aren’t used to be talked to that way.

This is going to be fun!

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I’ve explained before that I’m a modified discovery writer. I don’t outline the entire story before I start writing–though I do know the end I’m trying to reach and at least a few of the major points in between. I also do tend to have a sort of rolling outline of what’s going to happen in the next few chapters–usually three to five. But sometimes that estimate is off.

BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is turning out to be no exception.

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So, the chapter I mentioned in my last post ran longer than expected. Not really unusual, especially with a lot of dialog. Generally, I prefer my chapters to be no longer than ten pages. It’s a personal preference. As a reader, I appreciate a stopping place so that if I need to stop for a bit, I can easily find my place again. Scene breaks work, too, but chapter breaks are better. Some chapters are, of course shorter–even much shorter. A few just have to go longer.

But very often, there is a place to break and start a new chapter. And sometimes, that’s also a good place for a change of POV character and a slightly different outlook on the situation. So, that’s what I did with this chapter, switching from Margan (previously referred to as Impatient in that previous post) to Rose (the Neighbor).

But what was to happen at the end of the original chapter needs to be in Margan’s POV when he realizes something no one had suspected–least of all Rose. It just won’t work from Rose’s at all. So that means a third chapter, possibly fairly short, in Margan’s POV.

One chapter just became three. To be followed by the chapter in Gaian’s POV that was always intended to follow that little episode in Margan’s POV. Though, because something else has been delayed that would have happened before that.

And only then, the thing that action which was delayed, probably another chapter in Margan’s POV. The delay of this chapter helps to fill that plot hole I was worried about earlier. And, at the same time, helps to set up some action–actually a couple of pieces of action–that will occur later in the story. So win-win.

But that one chapter (which, I can see now, was always going to be too long) is now four chapters.

And all of that will be followed by another new chapter as other characters cope with what Margan and Rose got up to. This chapter will also nicely set up some later action. And then back to the original plan with a chapter in Kaleran’s POV

Not counting the finished chapter I started off from, that’s six chapters ahead. Assuming none of those decide to multiply, of course.

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