Month: July 2017

Third Pass Revision

I’ve been working on a revision plan for the third draft of Song.

I’ve written about my revision plan structure before, and that structure isn’t much different for a third pass than it is for a second. The things I am trying to address are different, however: the second pass was mostly about internal consistency and not sucking. This third pass is more about subtleties of character and theme, as well as not sucking.

This is why I ask for beta reader feedback – I’m too close to the characters to see what’s missing in the text to justify their reactions and relationships. Fresh eyes are invaluable in finding those places where a character’s behaviour is unreasonable, or a transformational moment s not earned.

Let’s take theme as an example of how to take a wide-ranging concept and instil that into the content of the book. Theme is something which often emerges during the writing of a story and there are likely to be many parts of the manuscript which in some way undermine or fail to reinforce a theme.

So, what I do is to make note of the theme and to go through each chapter and see what can be done to enhance or strengthen the presentation of that theme. Those notes go into action items in the plan just as before. These actions are likely to be a bit more fuzzy than those from the second pass since the thing to be achieved is a bit broader, but they are still action items that I can tick off as I go.

There are lots of ways to present an idea to a reader, from word choice to use of colour to just telling them, but I am not going to dig into those here. There are also interactions between this thematic work and that of improving characterisation: the theme might be best reinforced using a character moment. But whatever it is I decide to do, I will write an action item for it.

However, the intention is to make the theme present and consistent. I am trying to be careful about not over-egging the pudding, though – forcing a theme makes it unpalatable.

The assumption in all of this is that the story is broadly in place by this stage. The second pass was about making the book solid, while third pass is about making a book better.

Anyway, that’s what I am working on right now. How is your writing going?

Leave a Comment

July Things, 2017

June was, overall, a success because I got away for two weeks and managed to finish off what I needed to before disappearing.

Three Things for June

  1. revise Song – finish a readable second draft.
    1. second pass revision – finished off the last few items. There are still some substantial questions to consider, but the book was in a readable state when I left it.
    2. solicit feedback from beta readers – the draft is in reader hands, and I have had some responses too.
  2. blog posts – I wrote a couple of pieces in June beyond my Things post, which at least means I did something, but the blog was silent while I was away.
  3. short fiction – I had an idea for a story which I planned on writing while we were travelling, but then I got jumped by not one but two new ideas that landed on me in a jet-lagged fever dream. I have about a third of one of those written. There was rather less time for writing than I had hoped.
  4. pitching – no work on this. It will carry across to July.

So, on the one hand I succeeded in my primary goals and I also had a very nice holiday, but on the other hand I didn’t do much beyond either of those.

But it was a lovely holiday. I will post something about that soon.

Three Things for 2017

Where am I on the goals I set for the year?

  1. finish A Turquoise Song – still on track with this. The second draft worked out pretty well, I think, and I am nervously anticipating more reader feedback. Looking forward to digging in on the questions I have to answer for the third draft.
  2. talk to some agents, aiming to obtain representation – no work on the pitches, which was a shame. Have to get that done in July.
  3. investigate publishing A New Dawn – no work, and I fear there probably won’t be. This may have been a silly idea.

Still on track for a solid draft of Song by the end of July.

Three Things for July

  1. revise Song – prepare a solid third draft.
    1. review beta feedback – work on the feedback I receive
    2. third pass revision plan – use reader feedback and my own earlier notes on things I still worry about in the second draft to make a third draft revision plan
    3. third pass revision – work through the plan
  2. short fiction – finish the story I began on holiday
  3. pitching – compile a pitch for Song and any other stories I want to have to hand

July is a pretty focussed month, I think.

Leave a Comment