It’s late — for some…

It's late -- for some reason, I slept a lot last night, so now I'm on a bit of an odd schedule. Should be asleep within an hour or so, though.

I spent the bulk of the day working on revisions. I did a lot of clean-up of Part I, mostly going through scene by scene and figuring out a) which ones were lacking in tension, b) which ones could be combined into one longer scene, c) which ones could be expanded on, d) which ones could be better rearranged. To do this, I actually printed out each chapter and used scissors to separate the scenes, so I could lay them out on a table and look at them. I've never needed to do this for a short story, though I've heard of other people doing it. I think I had an odd sort of ego wrapped up in it -- I was proud of being able to hold it all in my head. Well, I have pride no longer; my novel has defeated me. I bow to the usefulness of scissors in helping me keep the novel in check. Back, back! Bad novel! Or I'll use the scissors on you! Heck, maybe I'll use the scissors on you anyway...

Did I mention that it's late?

I've been banging my head against the novel because I kept getting weird responses to the opening chapter from my various readers. David finally made a suggestion that I think I might try. Jump forward a few chapters and open with the first dinner party scene (this will only make sense to those of you who have read the draft, sorry), which is engaging and will draw people in. Once sympathy for the characters is established, then I can flashback into how they got into this crazy situation. It's going to make for a lot of time jumps in the first section, but my readers can handle that, right?

I'm not going to try to implement it now, since I spent all day revising Part I and want to move on to Part II now. This shouldn't substantially affect character arc or plot -- it's just controlling the revelation of information. So I think I can go ahead and revise the rest of the book, and come back and try this later. I think I'd better, because if I look at chapter 1 again anytime soon, I may end up hurling my computer against a wall...

I'm not really going to do that. I love my computer. It's a good computer. It's my friend. My only, dearest, darling friend. My precious...

Okay okay. I need to go finish up my last student's comments and send them out to him; poor munchkin got his last this time, so I have to make he gets his first next time. And then bed. Sweet sweet bed.

2 thoughts on “It’s late — for some…”

  1. Mary Anne,

    Some of the most effective stories and novels I have read never fully “show” how the characters got into the crazy situation, they just leap in and go from there… a thought, do you need to explain it? Or will the “explanation” come up naturally to the degree it is needed as the story goes?

    There’s a great short story I read last year where I accidently printed it out in the wrong order (it was on Sci Fiction, split onto two pages – somehow when I stapled my printout to read, I stapled it backwards – second half first, then the first half.

    I actually thought the second half, without the explanation and background of the first half was, in fact, a stronger story.

    Anyway, just a thought.


  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Yah, we’ll see. Generally, with short fiction, I err on the side of too-little-explanation; my first readers are always telling me they want more. But maybe with this novel, at least at first, I gave too much. I’m not going to worry about it now — forging onwards!

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