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Revision Xibalba, the next phase

Now that the major “re-VISION” of the story has been completed, I’m ready for the “edits” pass. 

I already did the first 100 or so pages from hardcopy a few months ago, smoothing sentences, etc.  but I still wasn’t happy with the opening paragraphs.  As soon as I finished RX last week, I jotted some new thoughts for the beginning.  I worked on them this morning Dark & Early and I think they’re much closer.  Close enough that I sent out my first agent query. 

:shock: I figured an iron in the fire would light a corresponding fire under my backside to finish this next pass.

I have a notebook open with three different pages.  One is timeline stuff – especially backstory.  Because I worked on the revision for sooooo long, and the cast is rather large, I’m afraid I might have forgotten some of the details. 

I also have a page for dropped threads or questions to myself.  Like in Quinn’s opening section, I hint quite heavily at some backstory with him and Iago that caused them not to speak for 12 years.  I never really go into that event.  Maybe that’s okay — or maybe not.  They’re guys after all, and I don’t think they’re going to sit down over tea and discuss their feelings.  *rolls eyes*  But as a reader, I’d want to know a little more about what happened and at least have some acknowledgement between them.  It would be even better if I can highlight that moment and showcase something in the climax as a sort of “pay back.”  I don’t think I managed to do that, and I’d love to, so hence the note.

I also have a limited number of [notes to myself] and a handful of comments in the main draft that need to be resolved.  I’ll make notes of ideas for each one as I go.

Lastly, I have a page to track chapter length and number.  Yes, I’m a math major — that doesn’t mean I can count.  I’m ashamed to say how many times I’ve messed up chapter numbers. 

:oops: [Angie just caught said boo-boo in Dear Sir. ]

Remember, too, that I was hacking and pasting stuff left and right.  I write in individual files for the most part, and then paste them into the main story line.  So I have all the first draft files (001, 002, etc.) and the second draft files (new_001, Tara_001, Quinn_001, etc. for the new scenes) and I wasn’t always paying attention to length of chapter.  I go by instinct in revision, what feels like a good break, but now the analytical part of my mind needs to see if the chapters fall into a reasonable length.  E.g. I don’t want one that’s 30 pages long.

I’m already through Chapter Five and don’t expect the rest to take more than a few days, unless the ending just shocks me with a huge hole.  So I’m opening up the request for any interested beta readers who can read in the next week or two to contact me.  I’d be happy to read a full manuscript from you in exchange.  I’m not looking for line edits — more general “I’m confused here” or “what happened to X?” sort of things that are in my head but didn’t make it to paper.  Although obviously if you catch me in a grammatical error, I want to know about it!

So begins the Great Agent Hunt of 2009.  *Da da DUM!*  Yeah, I’m not hearing angels singing or trumpet fanfare, not in this market with everyone reporting a sharp increase in queries, but you know me.

I’m going to try anyway.

6 thoughts on “Revision Xibalba, the next phase

  1. Good luck with the agent hunt!

    I used to put different pieces of my mss in different files. I ended up losing stuff. I was looking the other day for something and saw an old WIP that I had divided up. I couldn’t make heads or tails. I’m tooooooo disorganized mentally for that. I work from one draft only. But my stories are as complex as a Dr. Seuss book so I can get away with it.

  2. Hope the querying goes well!

    Out of curiosity, since you talk about the way you write here, when you say “Tara_001” and “Quinn_001”, I’m thinking this means these are the first scenes that they have a POV in, right? How do you keep track of where they fit? Spread sheet?

    As for Beta-reading, I’m more than happy to volunteer my services if you’d like them. 😀

  3. Heh — I read that as “an icon in the fire” and I was trying to figure out what the heck you were talking about!

  4. Thanks, Rene, but I hardly believe your plots compare to Dr. Seuss! Ha. I do occasionally lose something when I write in separate files, but I have a folder for each story, so it’s always there, I just forget to put it in the main draft. Usually I catch my error pretty quickly.

    Soleil, bless your heart, but I already owe you several reads! I refuse to take advantage of you!

    Yes indeed, I have a “Day Sheet” spreadsheet that lists out each section and the order I think they’ll occur. As I made this last revision pass, I shuffled things around and updated the spreadsheet as I went. I don’t always have to use a spreadsheet; I didn’t with Road, and I wrote in separate files. However, the POV structure was quite different, and I didn’t always break the section and start a new file with the new POV. It was almost a “chapter” break instead.

    It might sound dumb, but I sometimes build up anxiety when I have a nice “pristine” draft file and I can’t write the looser first draft continuously, without feeling the need to go back and edit. By writing in pieces, I break that anxiety because I know I’ll have time to revise before I smooth the files together into a real “draft.” It’s just a trick I play with myself. Plus, it makes backups easier–I don’t have to wait for one large file to load in the attachments, and I typically write one small section a day.

    Lydia, I had to go back and read it too — I wouldn’t put it past myself to write something like that by accident!

  5. Good luck with the agents, and putting the finishing touches on the mss

  6. You’re amazing Joely! I love reading about how you work. 😀 I’d also love to beta-read, but can’t until May 4th, when my @*&”%$ class ends. 🙁 If you’re still in the market for betas then, let me know. 🙂

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