20-20 Revision

Like a little boy at Christmas, I ripped into the stocking of revisions today. The last couple days I’ve managed to eek out about 1,000 words of the new book (to general applause btw)but I couldn’t get any further because I couldn’t think of anything else but the Scars book (which has now gone back to its last title of The Scars We Carry for the time being).

Revision is probably my favorite part of the writing process. This is where I feel the most creative, taking the pieces from what developed in the rough draft and moving them and molding them and then building a better story ontop of that foundation. So after a few days rest, I started thinking about the book in some new ways, mostly structural.

Today I made the first big step by outlining the first draft so instead of sorting through 300 pages for story bits I have it all in a four page outline. I’ve got to say I was very happy to see that for the most part the structure is very solid. I’m going to have to throw out the last 50 or so pages but I sort of figured I’d have to do that anyway. I wasn’t feeling right about most of it while it was being written, but hey you gotta wander a few dead ends before you find the end, right?

The biggest thing I have to figure out now is what I’m calling The Big Secret (TBS). This is the secret that the entire story rides on and I don’t know what it is yet. The murders and conspiracies in the novel all center around one crime and the coverup of that crime and I know what that crime is, it was to kill a blackmailer, but I don’t know what the actual blackmail material is.

To figure out TBS, what I’ve done is put together a timeline with a list of facts that I know so far about the case. I’ll look at the clues and the patterns and then do some journaling about the characters and their connections with each other and I’m sure I’ll know TBS soon enough. I suspect is has to do with money. Or sex. Or revenge. Possibly monkeys.

Once TBS is in place, the next thing I’ll do is iron out a new outline that includes the bulk of the old outline minus a few WTF spots and develops a subplot much more in depth than in the rough draft. I’ll also have to outline anew the last 50 pages that lead up to the final confrontation scene. This section will probably be the hardest to do because it is my weakest spot as a writer, I’m great at characters and dialogue and pacing, but I suck at tightening the grip on the plot and raising the stakes and all that mumbo jumbo. I’m not a thriller fan, and I’m not a thriller writer, but this needs to be a thriller section so that should be fun.

Once I know