R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

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KNIFE Revisions: Day One Report

Today I spent a while re-reading, highlighting, and scribbling notes all over my editorial letter. Then I sat down, opened up Excel, and started a spreadsheet with the following columns:
This is important primarily for sorting purposes.


Self-explanatory, I should think...

The Year and Date columns help me, the author, to keep track of the timeline; the seasons are what the faeries themselves would notice.

This plays a much bigger role in the plot than it would in another story, so it gets its own column. I already know that I have too much snow and ice for the (unspecified, but known to me) location, and not enough rainy/overcast days, so this will help me figure out where I can cut back on the one and add to the other. I may end up adding another column for phases of the moon, because there are a fair number of night scenes and I'd hate to screw that up.

= Other Characters (in the scene). The whole book is from Knife's POV, so I don't need to specify that she will always be present. But it helps to know which other characters are in each scene, so I can see where I might have introduced new characters too late in the story, or not given them enough screen time. I think I'll take a page from Randy Ingermanson and give each character their own color, so I can see their role in the story at a glance.

MAIN Action
I had to specify "MAIN" to myself because otherwise I ended up filling the column with everything that happened in the scene. So instead of describing the Action in Chapter 1 Scene 1 as "Wink and Bryony argue about why she can't go outside, and then Bryony escapes and meets a human child and Wink has to rescue her and then faints," I now have "Bryony escapes, meets human child", which is the part that really matters.

NEW Information
This reminds me which bits of info are really important and must be included elsewhere if I should happen to strike that particular scene.

= type of scene. Is it primarily action (!), or information (?), or romance (X)? Of course, I try to make scenes do double or triple duty as much as possible, so I may end up with a ?! or a !X here and there. But mostly I try to pick a symbol that most characterizes what's happening in that scene.
This is going to take me a while -- I'm only up to the first scene of Chapter Two so far -- but I think it'll be very worthwhile in helping me see which parts of the story are redundant, where there isn't enough ! and too much ? or vice versa, and what parts can be moved around to more useful and interesting locations.

I'm still brainstorming as I go, as well. While making my notes on the opening chapters, I realized that I had introduced an unnecessary plot complication solely for the purpose of creating one dramatic scene, so I've decided to strike that particular element* and save myself the trouble.

Also, I hope nobody was too attached to the Prologue (which is still up on my website), because it is SO GONE. Much as I enjoyed the repartee between Wink and Thorn, there isn't a thing in there that we don't or can't find out later in the story.

* It's the spell-fatigue thing, for those of you who know what I'm talking about.
Tags: knife, revision, writing
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