Tracking the Tempest Revisions Diary: Day 1

So, today I’ve officially begun revising Tracking the Tempest, Book Two in the Jane True Series. 

Basically what I’m doing for these revisions is completely hacking apart the first third of the book, making significant changes to the second third, and leaving the final third pretty much intact, minus obvious continuity changes I will have to make.

The reason I’m changing the first third is because it sucks. It’s slow, and it’s just not the right way to hit any kind of stride. That said, when I first realized that major surgery was what I needed to do to get Tracking up to snuff, I felt that initial surge of pure dauntification I always get when I’m embarking on major edits.

But the good thing about having done my PhD., and about having written, for all intents and purposes, three different theses for my different supervisors, is that the daunt only lasts a wee while, and then I’m able to git to steppin’.

Because any writing project, whether it’s an essay, a thesis, or a novel, is like a verbal game of Tetris. As I’m doing my rough draft, the ideas are (hopefully) flowing thick and fast. I gotta get them out, and tuck them into a position, before I lose my mojo. But the nice thing about this game of Tetris is that editing gives me a “do over” function. I get to step back, and rearrange whatever I like. So I have learned to think of editing less as a torturous process of correction, and more as an opportunity for expansion, growth, and thought. I’m no longer under that strain to just get it out; I have time to play, to enjoy, and to develop.

So what I did today was I started shifting around my outline. I’m making sure I nail down the major flow of action, making just a few notes regarding different opportunities for character development that these structural changes will allow. I’m just using a pen, paper, and shorthand, for now.

Tomorrow, I will sit down and put it onto the computer, padding it a bit more and giving it some more thought. The key at this stage of the process is, for me, to force myself to slow it down and really think it through. I am very OCD about deadlines, and I would prefer to get things in early (and by early, I mean immediately), than to take the full deadline and really explore. But I’m going to try to engage with my options a bit more, with these rewrites. I think I know what I want to do, and it appears to be pretty obvious, but I want to make sure I give Jane as much space as she needs to grow. She’s such a great gal, and I hate the thought that my own haste might overshadow her cool. So I’m going to be patient (which is not my virtue) and I’m going to be thorough. 

Or at least I’m going to try.

Then, on Sunday or Monday, when I’ve got the new outline on file, I’ll send it to my editor and we’ll have a good conversation/brainstorm together.

When we’re agreed on my course of action, I’ll start rewriting. My revisions for the second book aren’t due till July 15th, but I want to get as close to completing them as I can (and hopefully have a rough complete) done by June 1st. The reason for this is that I want to get a big chunk of the third book written in June, taking into account the changes I’m making in the second book. Then, starting July 1st, I’ll go back to Tracking for a final polish up of the edits, this time taking into account what I’m doing in Book 3.  

And hopefully that’s going to mean that Tracking the Tempest is tight with both Tempest Rising and Tempest’s Legacy. 

This is the plan, Stan. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

6 thoughts on “Tracking the Tempest Revisions Diary: Day 1”

  1. I have a question. Do you trash your first draft and start completely from scratch or do and recycle some of what you've written in the first draft?

  2. No no no, no trashing. Never trash. I recycle and recycle and recycle. Some things need to be rewritten, or written from scratch, but never dump. Always start a new draft file. 🙂

  3. No problem! My pleasure. And everything but the not deleting stuff isn't really advice. 😉 I am playing all this by ear, really, and just going off what I know about academic writing. But I did learn NEVER to delete stuff. You never know when the supervisor (in this case editor) or your own brain pan is going to say, "Didn't I have a paragraph about this in that old chapter . . ."

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