Monday, January 20, 2014

Out of the Starting Gate

gday gentle readers 

As I indicated last time 2014 has begun and I can now say with confidence begun well

When I left off way back in May last year to do other things like web work and travel I had edited 90% of Face (book 2 a.k.a. "The Face of the Goddess") and I was struggling. When I say left off in May, that was the end point, the dummy spit, after the effort had dribbled off from a weekly edit 15,000-20,000 words to only 1000. 

It's hard now to remember exactly why but it was something like this: despite all my spreadsheets, glossaries and maps I had quite literally lost the plot. I had no idea what the story was about, and remember I was editing a finished work, I had no right to be lost.

So how do I cram the essence of my sprawling epic back into my tiny brain after a long break. I have 382 POV changes over the 3 books, call them chapters: Break 152, Face 120, Arch 110.
Last time I tried to summarise the events of each chapter in a spreadsheet but it was too slow, too unwieldy I needed both the spreadsheet and the novel open and synchronised. Read and digest the chapter, transfer the gist of it to the sheet. The problem is me, I get carried away with spreadsheets. I divided the chapters into mini scenes, put in columns for 'characters mentioned' and for 'new concepts introduced'. Filling the columns required research; too slow, too hard, too damn stupid for words.      

I'm trialling a new approach. I saved a copy of the trilogy as at 1/1/2014, set it up in outline using 3 levels of headings for book, part and chapter.(Face has 3 parts - the others have 2) Now simply delete each paragraph that isn't essential 
to the story line 
as I go.  What's left, I cull of needless words and re-arrange as the summary.  This will also serve as an outline for my publishers :^)

The old method took me two weeks to do 24 Kwords. At that rate to summarise the trilogy would take a year, not editing mind just summarising to guide the edit.   

With the method I'm trialling, I did more (27 Kwords) in the first 4 hours.  It's about as fast as I can read and I can already see where changes need to made. Read like this, with an eye for the essence of each chapter, inconsistencies pop out.


As of this post 20 days later the trial is over I'm using it and have summarised 60% of the trilogy. Book 1 was a breeze, book 2 to date a slog. I've come to the conclusion that little of book 2 is salvageable. (not unexpected all things considered) Cant wait to deconstruct Book 3.       
'ooroo until my next post


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