Thursday, September 24, 2009

Revision Process

As I've worked my way through my revisions on Margarita Nights, in the hope of eliminating a gazillion words . . .

Here are my thoughts, the pieces of brilliance, as I sketched them out on a piece of paper . . .

  • Eliminate Character C Sections in Part I and incorporate main info into Character A and Character B Sections.
  • Eliminate Character F Sections in Part II and incorporate main info into Character D and Character E Sections.
  • Change the story from taking place over 2 years, to taking place over 1 year.

These were my initial thoughts about my revision process and the need to eliminate at least 8,000, if not 18,000 words from my lengthy work of brilliance.

Then, there are these ideas . . .

  • Part I = Character A/Character B (4 Months)
  • Part II = Character C/Character D (4 Months)
  • Part III = Character E/Character F (4 Months)

With the above idea, I don't eliminate the perspective of any character.

But, then there's this idea . . .

  • Part I = Character A/Character B (6 Months)
  • Part II = Character D/Character E (6 Months)

Obviously, with the above, I've eliminated two perspectives from the manuscript, and incorporated the main info into the perspectives of the other characters.

The elimination of any perspective requires an answer to one simple question: Is said character's perspective integral to the overall story being told, or can said character's perspective be eliminated?

Then, if considering the elimination of two perspectives (one in the current Part I and Part II of Margarita Nights) how would I truly incorporate much of what was in Character F's Section of Part II into the new Part II?

This dilemma brings up the following questions:

  • Would attack of Character D draw Character D and Character F closer together?
  • Would Character F confide in Character D (and thus, incorporate/relay the main info eliminated by the removal of Character F's perspective)?
  • Would the secret Character D and Character F share, be enough to draw them closer together?
  • Would the guilt of Character F bind them together or push them apart?

Lastly, I know this - by shortening the time span of each section, I would tighten up the story and make the decision process of Character A more realistic, and less wishy-washy . . . which is probably a good thing. Still, I have to make sure that the tightening of the story doesn't make the decision making process seem hurried or forced.

Have any of you faced this dilemma before? How did you solve it? How would you solve it? Would you solve it? I only ask the last question, because I know, absolutely know, what a very good friend of mine is going to say: Leave it alone, it's fine the way it is, query already so I can say "Ya know, I know him" as he points to my picture on the back of the book when he's at the checkout counter in Borders!

All I really know is that, as much as I love what I wrote, as is, a massive word count is going to, well, count against me!



Marybeth Poppins said...

I have the opposite problems. So I'm not sure how to help you here. I hope it all works out though :)

Davin Malasarn said...

Scott, I haven't read your book, of course, but I would say that for me, tightening the story and the timespan doesn't necessarily make the story more rushed. So, I might be in the leave-it-alone camp. One can't tell without actually seeing the book, of course. Good luck!

Rebecca Knight said...

I so admire all the planning and hard work going into these revisions! I'm like Marybeth and had to add words, so I'll just cheerlead from the sidelines. GO, SCOTT!!

Scott said...

Marybeth - sometimes I have the opposite problem, just not this time. : )

Davin - at this point, it's more about the necessary evil of eliminating words . . . massive amounts of words. But, then there's this little voice at the back of my mind that has consistently whispered "Is this character's POV really necessary? Can the story be told without this POV, but still have the character an integral part of the story? I think 'that' is the issue I'm struggling with right now. Thanks so much for your comment and vote. I truly, truly appreciate both, from you and every commenter. : )


Angie Ledbetter said...

Are you heavy on description and/or dialog? Maybe just cutting those areas would eliminate the need to change the time element?

Scott said...

Angie - I'm not heavy on description, but there is a lot of dialogue. I'm just leaning more and more to the idea that one, if not two, of the perspectives isn't entirely necessary. I'm kinda going with my gut on this one. As it is, I'll probably end up with the 6 perspec version and the 4 perspec version . . . and then go from there. I truly appreciate your thoughts on this issue, as well as the other commenters. : )