Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fun, fun, fun :-(

In the normal course of events, I am a linear writer. Things have to proceed in chronological order - flashbacks, yes, but always in a different font, so I never lose the skein of the story. My short stories were almost always a set of snapshots - detailed events often joined together by passages of time totally unaccounted for.

When I decided to write a story about 25 times longer than something I would normally attempt, my technique remained very much the same. Each chapter was essentially a set of snapshots, with the only difference being that I did not have to wrap up each chapter with an end that was meaningful.

And when I wrote, I jumped around. The chapter written first, eventually became chapter 8, the epilogue was written around the half-way mark. I had four characters, each of whom shared almost equal screen time, but when I wrote, I often wrote two or three chapters of a single character on a trot.

Net result - chaos!!!!

Despite my belated attempts to track events chronologically using Excel, when I finally put the chapters together, birthday parties took place two chapters after they were first mentioned, people proceeded to the kissing phase even before exchanging the first flirtatious look, a weekend and a week passed before a phone call which was supposed to happen 'tomorrow' actually happened!

Editing !!!! Can anything me more fun?

How do you cope, or am I the only one ending up with so many inconsistancies, in a story that is pure chick lit?

And to give you something to look at, till I get some basis sense out of my manuscript, here's the Wordle of my entire story. Enjoy.

The immensely talented Elspeth Antonelli uses Wordle to track if she has been using words more often than they should be used, and other things as useful as that. For me, it is pure art.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh gosh, I know just what you mean. I wrote a book that's STILL being edited in a very scattered, non linear way. I'll NEVER do that again. I'll write a different chapter when I have writer's block with the current chapter, but I'll never write in a different place on the WIP every single day. What a mess! The only thing that has helped in the last week or so with it is reading it straight through and using track changes to find inconsistencies. And my agent's corrections helped a lot, too. So maybe getting a reader to critique it.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jan Morrison said...

Yikes - do I EVER know what you mean! Because of the fifty thousand word soup I ended up with after NaNoWriMo I have made a fundamental change to my writing discipline - it isn't nearly finished - need another forty thousand I think but I can't do my one thousand a day. So my new approach is two hours or one thousand words. Otherwise I'll just add to the mess. It is like a bunch of my mother's jewelry - all the chains tangled and odd earings with no match so two hours of untangling is a lot of work even if there is no PRODUCT! And this ain't revisions, it's just figuring out who did what when (kinda important in a mystery eh?). So all my love goes to you Rayna and Elizabeth - all clear thoughts, all grace, all determination, all grit and all joy of process!

Leanne said...

Ohhhh I hear you... this is the main reason I'm having so much trouble beating Edwin into line, stuff just oozed out randomly, so I now have at least parts of chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and something-later-but-not-sure-where, a prologue and TWO epilogues floating around, and errrrm... yeah. Might have to try your word-cloud thing though... it's pretty. ;-)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I had that problem with the historical novel I'm still revising -- I used multiple points of view and wrote flashback chapters for each character. It was a confusing mess. It's now in semi-chronological order, but I'm thinking of revising again, this time to put the whole thing in one character's point of view and make the story YA instead of adult. If I do that, I'll have finished three other mystery/suspense novels before the YA historical is actually completed. Sometimes we learn the hard way.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I have to write straight through. If for some reason I jump ahead (because of what I think is a brilliant idea) I'll put it in a different file and look at joining it when I get there in the plot. Jumping around would get me no where I'd have no idea where I was!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lovely, lovely compliment. I've never been called 'immensely talented' before. I'll be smiling for days.


Isn't wordle wonderful???

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Elizabeth - now I know!!! And that is exactly what I intend doing - giving it a single long read, to track the inconsistencies.

@ Jan - that is such a brilliant analogy. My jewellery case is a mess too, with entangled chains and solitary earrings. The only difference is that since it is mine, I normally manage to make sense out of it.

@ Leanne - gosh, you do seem to have got yourself into a mess with Edwin, haven't you? But then Edwin is a much much more complicated story than mine could ever hope to be.

@ Patricia - that does sound like a much greater mess than mine. Wish you all the best with untangling the skeins.

@ Elspeth - you can smile a couple of days more, because I'm going to say it again. You are indeed immensely talented!


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