It’s a Fixer-Upper

Jeez, has it really been five days without an update? I’ve been trying to do them every two or three days but apparently I slipped this time. Allow me to assure you that I’ll never let you go that long without hearing from me again. Unless I’m on vacation. Or exceptionally busy. Or depressed. Or lazy.

Anyway, I’m about 5,000 words from the end of the first draft of Fugitives of Earth. You may recall that I was trying to get done by last weekend. Suffice it to say that this did not happen, but so help me I will get my draft done by Saturday morning. I’m going to a steampunk workshop at the Attic Institute in the afternoon, and I want to use my break of FoE to write a steampunk short story. Should be fun – it’s a bit outside my usual oeuvre.

Now that revision is on the horizon, I’m trying to come up with a plan to get it done as systematically as possible. I’m really hoping that it’s something that will come relatively easy for me, because I’m hoping to get it all done in something like two and a half months. Will it work? Who knows. But here are my ideas for how to get started:

  1. Create a complete scene outline from beginning to end.
  2. Tag each scene with the characters and plots present, and use this to map out a dramatic arc for all major characters.
  3. Fill out the dramatic arc for each character that needs one, and move characters that don’t into the background.
  4. Now that I know what needs to be there, I’ll have an idea of what doesn’t. Time to start trimming the fat. I suspect this will be the longest phase, just because I’ll probably have to hew out substantial quantities of some scenes and sections, and replace them out of whole cloth.
  5. Now I bring in the beta readers.

I’ve never gotten to that point before, but after thinking about it, I’ve arrived at an uncomfortable conclusion: I’m not yet sure if it will even be possible to keep writing this novel in six calendar months. This wouldn’t be me failing, per se, it would be me completely misunderstanding the methodology of revising. We’ll see how it works out, but it may not be possible to get feedback in a sufficiently timely manner to get the whole thing done by March.

But who cares, right? It’ll get done eventually, and if I’m not working on Fugitives from Earth, I’ll just be working on something else. I am, after all, a writer, so you can be quite certain that I’ll be writing.

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