Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Threading together a manuscript
A few weeks ago, I received an insightful, detailed, and very smart critique of Project Demo. I had thought to move on to Project Fun in February, but the vision this reader presented me with was so exciting. She got exactly what I had been trying to achieve, yet was also able to pinpoint a way to condense the plot and ramp up the tension. Even though days before I had been eagerly planning to escape Project Demo, I couldn't help but dive into revisions (yet again).
But figuring out how to incorporate these changes has been overwhelming. I can easily imagine them, but figuring out how to make them part of my existing structure is another issue entirely.
So last week, in desperation at tying together all these different threads, I grabbed some scrap paper and started making lists. I listed the highlights of the main character's journey. Then I started in on her friend's arc, then her dad's, then the antagonist's. I ended up with six different plot threads.
Then I made myself a cup of tea and started cutting my scrap paper into thin strips, a strip for each scrawled line. I arranged my plot threads across my dining room table, line by line, completely intermixed.
Is it perfect? No. I had to add several more lines as I thought of them, and I'm sure I'll continue to tweak the structure, and rearrange slips of paper. But I had in front of me a visual representation of my plot, including every major character, turning point, and revelation, from start to finish. All of a sudden, my plot changes seemed tangible, and even better yet, like they could be tackled.
Any tips of your own for tackling complex revision suggestions?