Friday, May 03, 2002

Just a quick note here. I'm waiting for Russ to get home, and then I'm gong to go out to a local nature preserve for an hour or so and wander the paths. It's nearly 70, but breezy. It'll probably be a bit too cold to spend a lot of time out there since it's nestled in some hills and covered in trees, but I intend to enjoy it anyway.

Holly had some neat things to say about writing today. Sounds like a neat technique to pull things together.

I'm doing something different. I have a 19 year old manuscript with a cast of thousands, rambling pov, and I won't even get into the actual bad writing... however, there are some good characters and the plot is not too bad. This is the dreaded Book 3 of 8. (Sounds a bit borgish, doesn't it?)

I've been trying to get going on it for a month and I just couldn't seem to get past the first few pages. Well, I finally found the answer with the note cards. One note card per character, but more importantly, one note card per page of the original manuscript. It is printed in faded dot matrix, about a 10 point font and single spaced. The original is 85 pages. Yes, that's very short, even in this tiny print.

But I've already found several points where I can insert new chapters. In fact, where I should insert material. The novel is Crystal and the Stars. We meet Crystal very early in the book, but then it's mostly a 'look for Crystal' story for about a third of it after that. I realize that I need to show what Crystal is doing during this time since he turns up quite unexpectedly.

Ah, the joys of a real plot. I've now written 13 pages of new material. That barely covers the first 4 pages of the first version. But now all I need do is look at the note cards to remember what happened next, and go to work. If there happened to be some really good dialogue on one of the original pages, I'll try to remember to grab it. So far, nothing much has leapt out at me in that respect.

I've cut characters, and I've changed some of the extraordinary powers of the others. The note cards, all lined up in a nice little notebook especially made for them, is incredibly helpful. I can flip through them, insert material, write more notes on the cards, and go on.

And, one of the most important aspects of writing -- I'm enjoying this. I think it's going to pull together quickly now.

I think I'll go do some more note cards while I wait...

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