Sunday, 6 October 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 6th October 2013

Maria A Smith

Revision and editing has dominated my writing time in the last week, finally I feel the mist is beginning to clear and I can go forward with my novel. I'm going to do a complete re-write, I know I'm not alone in having to do this, major rewriting seems to be common, it just feels that way when you're in the thick of it, and you begin to doubt yourself, and what you've done before.

I'll be making huge changes, every chapter and scene will need work. This last week, I've been churning things over in my mind, and I'm feeling more positive to take the story to the next level. Even though it means characters will be cut, and entire scenes will be shifted. I've been looking at character, plot, and setting, each area needs lots of work, but I'll just give my thoughts on character for the moment.

Shall I cut anyone out? - I'm going to lose one or two who don't have major parts, for the sake of my plot, they aren't needed, and I feel they are now distracting me. So they'll be cut out. Maybe I'll reincarnate them in another story one day, but for now, they are redundant.

I'm desperate to write more backstory for each of my main characters, its important readers know what has led them to the situation thats occurring, I need to convey what each one desires, what they fear, its going to be tricky weaving it in, in such a way that I don't give too much away when I raise the stakes.  I'm wary of flashbacks too, but there are some key past events that need to be told.

Daft as it sounds, I might interview each of my characters, starting with easy stuff, like where were you born? How old are you? Then work my way round to the harder stuff, like, what are you scared of? Bizarrely, I feel I need to sneak up on them, let them feel comfortable, while I interrogate them. I'll get a deeper understanding of what motivates them, and of their emotional issues, which are critical to the way the story plays out on the page. I've done it before in my previous novel and it worked really well.

This writing game is hard don't you think? I keep asking myself, why have I chosen to write such a complicated story? Ugh! Then I think, if only I can get this story told. Its so frustrating. Deep down I know I'm not alone, I'm not am I? Theres lots of you fighting to get it written? But it has certainly felt like it for most of the last year.

So whats changed to make me feel I can go forward? I've made a new plan, beginning with arranging to meet up with a writing buddy who is also struggling with a novel. We've arranged a date to pitch our outlines to each other, and this has given me a new focus. I need to be prepared. I never go into a business meeting unprepared, so I'm treating this meeting the same. This week I'm going through whats left of the novel, making myself a chapter plan. Numbering each one and writing two sentences about it on a piece of A4, I'm keeping it as simple as I can at this stage.

When thats done, I'll print two copies, and cut one up so I have a strip for each chapter, that way, I can move them about, so maybe chapter one, fits better at chapter six, and later chapters need to come forward. I find this is a good visual way of brainstorming if I need a prologue, or to see if I am starting in the wrong place. Often I need to start further into the story.

The rest of my writing week will be blogging, here, and over at Phoenix Writers Subs Club and that is definitely enough. Otherwise, I'll be reading my manuscript in order to do the rewrite.

I'll definitely be making time for relaxation too, maybe a walk in the local park, the trees are changing magnificently, I want to capture them with my camera. I might swim too, I suppose it depends on what else life throws at me...

What will you be up to?


  1. I've often cut things up and stuck them back together all over my living room floor - seeing the story as a whole rather than in pieces on your computer works really well. I always thought I was the only one who did that. I hope the rewrite goes well - and that cutting characters isn't too painful :-)

    I've just started a major rewrite,myself,of quite an old story - plus I'm moving the action from the 80s to present day, so I'm giving myself even more work!

    1. Argh! What are we like? I hope your rewrite goes well Annalisa...

  2. The energy and commitment you're putting into your writing is impressive. Your finished work will be great.

    I suppose that the characters you'll be cutting have served their purpose in getting you to explore the story and find out what it's really about.

    How could one get a copy of your first novel?

    1. ''
      Hello Jacki, its unpublished, still a WIP, I wasn't happy with it, so shelved it until I can get my head around how to fix it. Its definitely going to get my attention though... :-) Thank you for your kind comments.

  3. You're amazing and I know what it is like to be in the thick of it. Some days oodles gets done and other days, I barely edit/rewrite a page. Keep going is my mantra hehe just wanted to drop in and say the chapter notes and working chronologically for me really worked well, even if i had to leave notes like, "Chapter 12 now Chapter 15" and awkward phrases like that, through the document! Your dedication is a thing to be proud of :D xx

    1. Thank you Lou, its been an uphill battle, and I've been so tempted to quit and throw the whole project into the trash! Hopefully, I'm past that now, and can go forward with a renewed energy.

  4. Impressive tenacity, Maria! You've done the really hard work in getting the story out in some form. The rewrites and cutting will all be worth it - hope I can help you on the journey.

    1. Hi Wayne, I'm in the right place in my head now. Really looking forward to making a proper plan and getting it done!

  5. Having a plan is so key! And your plan is a great one. I might even nab it and modify it to make Silk Over Razor Blades work. I need to keep it to one side for now, but when the time comes to go back to it, the chapter outline on little slips is a fantastic idea.

    I'm rooting for you, Maria, with everything I have. You're not alone, I'm so with you and ready to help in any way I can. ^_^


    1. Aww, thanks Leah...I am finding my way through the wilderness, and its so good to know I have my writing buddies there with me. I may well take you up on your offer at some point. :-)

      Do try the outline thing. It is a little time consuming at first, but I find it a real help once I've done it...


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