Thursday, August 20, 2009

Revisions: I Win!

Today at lunch I successfully tied together the massively revised first chapter with the rest of the novel. I need to work on that last transitional passage, but really, the worst is over. I am very pleased by that. I thought I'd never get from the new opening pages to the stuff I was leaving alone, but I've finally managed to do just that.

Am I done now? No, not quite. I still need to add two new scenes (already written) and cut the end of one scene that doesn't work now that I've written one of the above-mentioned new scenes, and I still need to read through the whole thing and address one or two little things and make sure that I haven't introduced any continuity errors while rewriting the first part. I am pleased to have kept the glorious eel passages, now wriggling away at the end of Chapter Six, I believe.

The bigger accomplishment, bigger even than actually having revised the first 11,000+ words of the book, is that I have pretty much eliminated any need for backstory. There is now only the Story Present, the NOW of the tale, and anything that looked like backstory has been cut or transformed into details of setting or character. A few bits of the past remain, alas, but I've done a more-or-less complete job of deleting all of that. I may post something about this idea of There Is No Backstory, There Is Only Now on the Literary Lab one of these days.

Anyway, yay me; I think I may still manage to get this revision off to Agent Jeff by the end of this month. I'm a total rock star if that happens. We'll see.


  1. Scott!

    I finally remembered to go to your blog! It is bookmarked now to avoid any further shortcomings on the part of my feeble memory.

    Congrats on getting the rewrite done! If an editor had asked me to scrap 10k+ words and redo them I would have been far more likely to commit violent acts than write actual literature, so I can only conclude that this counts as bonus points for you.

    Extraneous exclamation point!

  2. Good for you!
    I could really use that post on "There Is No Backstory, There Is Only Now".
    I'll be patient.

  3. Ben!

    My response to further revision requests will be, "What? No way. Do it yourself, dude. Scott's tired today."

    How's the new gig? When will your amazon page have the cover art up? WTF? I'm following you on Facebook now! No exclamation point is extraneous!

    jbchicoine: Be patient; it'll happen.

  4. Scott, congratulations--that's great news, and I applaud your progress.

    Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing this WiP in print someday soon.

  5. Awesome news! I am happy to hear there is just some tidying up to do and then you'll be done. I, too, look forward to the no backstory post.

  6. Weronika: Thanks! I hope to see this in print someday, too. This has been a very long year so far.

    Annie: I hope I'm not being overly optimistic about the amount of work to be done, but if I can restrain myself from adding new scenes and rewriting gobs of stuff, I should be okay.

    NO BACKSTORY, coming soon!

    Erin: Thanks! Life is cool. Or more cool than it was last week, anyway.

  7. That's fantastic Scott. There's a lot to be said for eliminating the backstory. I've heard that it's best to start from one point and move forward. Just tell the story that happened--quit going back and telling what happened before the story.

  8. Lois: That's essentially it about backstory. Just start when the story begins and go on from there. Anything else you need to tell the reader can be worked into setting, action, or character. I haven't perfected it, but I'm much better at it than I was a month ago!

    Big reveals having to do with backstory? That's just cheating and crap storytelling. Says me.

  9. Okay, Scott, this is becoming a pressing matter for me. I need to dump about 10,000 words of backstory and I need to know how to seed it back in...
    Not that I'm trying to pressure you or anything...


  10. jbchicoine: start with this post

    What makes you think you even need that 10,000 words of backstory? Odds are that you really, really, really (really) don't.

  11. Yay you, Scott. Definitely yay you! I feel out of breath just thinking about what you have done, but honestly, I didn't doubt that you'd be able to do it.

  12. Okay, okay, okay, (okay), I probably don't need all those words, and I am ready to cut.

    I just read that post on In Medias Res, very helpful for the beginning, but of course, my 10,000 words are interspersed throughout; not to say they aren't rather unsightly globs. Same principles apply, I’m sure.


  13. Scott, since you asked I went and looked, and it seems that the art is up now! Still a couple weeks before I post any info on the website, but hoping to do so soon.

    New gig is going well... it's still work, though, and not exactly a career as a fabulously wealthy bestselling author.

  14. Okay, cool. I'm officially jealous at how quickly you're moving on this. Monarch is still hovering at a meager 45,000 words. So I'm not sure our little "exchange" is going to be a straight over exchange unless you're willing to wait like 2 more years at the rate I'm going. No, seriously, I should be done in a few months I'm hoping. Dang real life and other things that kick my writing by the wayside.

    I'm looking forward to that back story post. :)

  15. Congratulations. All this "now" talk reminds me of philosophers.

  16. Michelle: I think I can officially say that I'm going to blow my August 31 deadline. I'm not finding a lot of time to work on the book; life is getting in the way of famous authorhood. I should email Agent Jeff and tell him I'll be late. I hope you find enough time to work on Monarch. Life never seems to slow down.

    And okay, okay. Backstory post. Soon, honest.

    Justus: The best philosophers say, "Go write, right now." Are you writing? Put down the playstation.