Dealing with Dominos

No, not the pizza place.

Since I started revising, something pretty awful happened.  Things that I cut, and things that needed to be moved around caused this horrible chain reaction in which the story no longer flowed right.  If A needs to happen so B makes sense, and leads into C, when all three of those are juxtaposed around, suddenly the flow is gone.  As someone on QT mentioned recently, it’s kindof like knocking down a few dominoes.  Suddenly, the whole thing starts falling.  

Personally, I’m a very linear writer.  I have to go in order, I can’t just jump around.  But I’m also not an outliner, so when I do make mistakes (hey, it could happen someday!) then I kinda have to go back and make a lot of changes.  So when I was doing my edits, I realized that a few things weren’t going to work.  No problem, I’ll fix them, I said to myself.

Yeah.

So what started as very simple edits then became a huge issue because of all those dominoes.  For Witch Eyes, Braden’s journey is fairly straightforward.  A leads to B leads to C, etc.  So once that changed, I had a lot of reweaving to go back and do, to make sure everything was fitting together.  

One thing I did that helped me, especially as far as ‘what does the character still know at this point’ was to make a flow chart.  I wrote down Braden’s name, and the facts that he was learning, as well as where he learned them (both from who, and what chapter in the book).  As I added new things, or got through edits on the next scene, I updated that.  Knowing roughly where in the book he learned it helped because I could then go back when I was looking at future scenes, and figure out where the next step would be.  

Other things I’ve done with these revisions was to go back through and edit one character’s scenes sequentially.  To make sure they flowed and made sense for the characters, and also to make sure I was being consistent.  Particularly with one of the adults in town, I had to make sure that making changes wasn’t going to screw up stuff I was missing in future scenes.

I also made a list of the bigger changes I needed to make, and where that was going to impact the book.  Below that Big List, I wrote the specific scenes I either needed to add or cut, just to keep it all straight.  That became a kind of checklist I could go back to later, and see where I was going with it.

The story itself isn’t much different – the path to the ending is still the same.  But it’s the little details, the road signs if you will, that kept switching up. 

So yeah, that’s my little bit of craft talk for the day.

And I’m kinda excited for my next project, which I’ve talked to my friends Leah and Jess about.  It’s not a proper Nano, but it’ll be a good challenge for the winter months.  Providing work decides to (no pun intended) work out.  And I can get some time to myself.

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