Epic DUH Moment

Truth: the revision is going slowly. I wish I was editing. Editing means that the story structure is finished, the stuff that needed cutting is already on the floor and the new raw material has already been written. Editing, to me, implies that sentence-by-sentence smoothing and polishing before sending it out to the Beta Readers, fingers crossed and loins girded.

But I’m not editing. I am revising and at times the process feels like walking through a mud bog in oversized rubber boots. I’m squelching through the muck and just as I yank up one boot from the mire and take a step forward, the other foot is now goodly-stuck and threatens to slip off my foot and leave me peg-legged where I stand.

However, I had a revelation (aka the Epic DUH moment) the other day that’s cheered me immensely. There is a difference — a huge, important, galactic-sized difference — between revising your scene structure for the novel and revising your timeline of events. These are not equivalent things. Trying to figure out what-happens-when in the chronology of the novel at the same time as trying to select what scenes to dramatize and from which viewpoint character has not worked for me. SPECTACULARLY not worked for me.

Not saying that it can’t be done. I fully concede that either a) a novel with a single POV character or possibly two might be manageable whereas my 4-6 POVs are not or b) I just don’t have the brain power to compute both at the same time. Also, option c) I might get better at doing both at the same time in the future, a few more novels in, but that ain’t gonna help me now.

My (constant) issue is not being able to SEE the whole thing at once. I love my little MacBook, but the teeny-tiny screen is killing me. (Further pining for the big iMac … oh, it’s coming … it’s coming …) And I haven’t found an effective way to transport this part of the job around with me to work away from the computer, like at the day job. I’ve written lists, but they are inherently inflexible. Even Scrivener’s index card feature hasn’t helped — I simply cannot see enough of them at once.

So I’ve gone minimalist and (horrors!) old school. I’ve cracked open MS Word and I am using the outline feature. I am just slamming all the events into the document to determine the timeline, along with any additional scene notes that come to mind as I type. Once that document is solid, then I will go back and pick the best places to dramatize and from which POV and enter them into Scrivener.

I know that once I push through this sticky part, I will be released, back to writing new material and bouncy-happy! Just gotta work through it. Off I go.

In other news, I have received and since sent back my contract for my first short story sale. As soon as the story goes live, I’ll be all link-posty with it.

I have the envelope the contract came in pinned up to my cork board.Β β™₯


3 thoughts on “Epic DUH Moment

  1. Michael

    Hey Steph…

    First off, just wanted to say how happy I am for your first contract. I know it’s been a long, hard road for you, and I am super excited for you.

    Second, Instead of going to an iMac for now, have you thought of just getting and auxilliary monitor for your desk? You will still have the portabilty and flirtyness of your laptop, but when you at home you’ll have the bigger screen for doing your work. Just a suggestion.

    Third, while I am doling out advise. Have you looked at the Kindle app for your iPad instead of buying (and housing) moutains of books? I know there is nothing like the feel of a good novel while curled up under a blanky with a hot tea. It took me a while to get used to my Kindle (holds 2,500 books), but the portability of it and the new technology makes it just a lighter book that you can take and read everywhere. Ya…I’m looking at your “Under Heaven” book from your last post.

    Anyway….My 3-cents worth.

    Miss you TONS!!

    Love, Me.

  2. Steph

    First, thank you. πŸ™‚

    As for the other two, trust me — this has been under mental review for some time. Screen real estate isn’t the only pressing need. I am very low on hard drive space. I thought I had cracked that nut when I had gotten the external drive, but when it crashed and killed everything, I knew I had to do something else. (I was supremely lucky that all I lost was my media — all my writing was backed up in numerous places.)

    The iMac will be my desktop computer, my laptop will be stripped down to just the basics for writing, and my iPad will otherwise by my go to for casual browsing and reading. And yes, I buy many books on my iPad, split pretty evenly between Kindle and Kobo. I tend to shop by price point, but this time it was a convention and I’m allowed to splurge at a Con! πŸ™‚

    Anyways, miss you, too. Loves and hugs! Must Skype soon!

  3. Steph

    And BESIDES … how I can take nifty pictures of all my books if they are all in the iPad? An endless stream of iPad photographs! πŸ™‚

    But now that I think of it, it would be an interesting challenge. How can I make the rest of the scene interesting? Ponder, ponder, ponder…

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