Friday, February 12th, 2016

lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Revision generally comes to me in one of two ways. There's the reading-through of the text, when I come across something that just doesn't ring right or could be better. Those usually aren't too hard to work the new text in (though if something was wrong the first time, there's no guarantee that I can come up with the right thing now). And then there's the snippets of words that come to me when I'm not looking at the existing manuscript, in fact often nowhere near it; sometimes just a line or a phrase, sometimes half a scene of new content. These typically get scribbled down by hand on whatever paper I can reach at the time, and then fitted in later. Sometimes they actually do fit where I'd envisioned them, but more often I've misremembered the existing text just enough that the new stuff has nowhere to go, or crashes into the existing with that horrible crunching sound and shrapnel everywhere. And that's if the new stuff came with a specific spot in mind; just as often it's a bit that I like or that adds something important, and it needs to go somewhere, but I have to canvass the existing text to figure out where. And then comes the roadblock or the shrapnel....

This current revision pass of Highway of Mirrors has had plenty of both kinds. I'm now down to the last few handwritten bits that need to be fitted in, and of course these are the hard ones; the easy ones got done already. There's at least one bit that I really like that I don't think I'm going to be able to use; it would add a lovely oomph to the figuring-out-the-spy-plot part, but there's no way my characters could acquire the information in question -- and making a way would probably require another 20k words, all of which would be a distraction from what the novel's really about. So, no.

One bit is a two-parter; I came up with the perfect way to work in the set-up reference a couple days ago (when I needed to be getting ready for work, of course), and now I need to scan through the later chapters to figure out where the follow-up goes.

Another bit is adding some needed depth to the antagonist's characterization, and that too requires writing a new chunk to fit it into. But in this case, the point in the story where it really needs to go happens to coincide with one of the weaker scenes in the novel. So, as is often the case, put two problems together to create a solution. I'm having to effectively write a whole new scene to slip this into the background of, but I'll have less summarizing and more actual story when I'm done.

Doesn't mean I'm enjoying the process, though. ;-P

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