Saturday, January 28, 2012

Getting serious about finishing.

I took a stab at putting my book, I'M ONLY HUMAN, into a second draft yesterday.

Changed it quite a bit. Put a 'floating' chapter in as the 2nd Chapter. Cut about half the original 2nd chapter and made it the 3rd chapter, and moved the 3rd chapter to the 11th chapter. Cut the 4th Chapter.

Cut quite a few duplicate explications. (Going to explain less, and hope the story shows it.)

Simplified some of the terminology.

The willingness to cut one's "precious" words is the hallmark of a serious writer, in my opinion. It means I'm getting serious about getting it into readable form, even if I have to cut out some really nice sentences, paragraphs and pages.

(At least four chapters can be used for the prequel, which I've already got in mind.)

Since it turns out to be flashback heavy (seems unavoidable for an eternal protagonist...) I've decided to title each chapter, and put in timestamps where necessary. (NEW YORK, 1845.)

I wrote a few simplified bridging scenes.

Anyway, got as far as the 11th chapter. Pushed the wrong button, and it disappeared!

Then spent two hours trying to find it again. (Yes, I tried everything -- dropbox, trash, everything. I even read the damn manual. ugh.)

Got really angry, then depressed. Almost any of the other chapters I could have reproduced. (I'm keeping the first draft intact in case this second version just doesn't work.)

Anyway, it was VERY UNSETTLING and pretty much destroyed any momentum I had. Went to bed unsettled and still feel unsettled this morning.

So, I'm going to try to reproduce the Chapter 11 today -- but not slave over it. Then move on to getting the rest of the book in the proper order.

THEN: I can get serious about revising the actual words.

As I mentioned: I feel like I've now fleshed out this world, ironed out the rules of engagement, created the characters. But I did this by writing the book. Now as I read the first draft, I can see where I was feeling my way into this fleshing out, and many of the explanations have been slightly changed or are unnecessary.

The rules should go into the background, to be abided by, but only hinted at.

I also sort of figured out the themes. Which I want to play up in the second draft.

Big signs over my desk.

Theme #1. HUMANS ARE STRANGE. As the main protagonist, Kobb, "becomes human" I want to highlight all the strange things about being human, make little remarks about human behavior.

Theme #2. WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE? So the main human emotion the protagonist learns is Love. So I want to show a Love story.

Theme #3. THE WEIRD MENAGERIE. It turns out, that Kobb is "The Protector" of creatures, great and small, in both his world and ours. Want to show these creatures, and how he has tried to save them.

I've included several scenes with historical characters who are famous writers. I want to do some research on these writers, and put some of their own words in their mouths and just try to make them believable. (As well as historical verisimilitude in the settings.)

At this point, it's very hard for me to get a sense of the flow of the book, and I'm doing it by instinct. This "feels" right here, this "feels" right there. I'm trying hard not to get to that point where I simply can't see the book anymore with fresh eyes. But this point is unavoidable, as far as I can tell, and I just have to have faith in my original vision.

Hey, if it doesn't work, it's been another learning experience, which I intend to apply toward the next effort.


Leitmotiv said...

If you ever press the wrong button and something disappears.... press CTRL Z to undo. Or, if that doesn't work, just abandon all your edits and exit the program. Don't save.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you not talking about TV. :)

love buster

Anonymous said...

I hope you're backing up your book on a thumb drive or somewhere. And maybe copy and paste the whole document and email it to yourself occasionally.