I’m a great believer in writing a novel from beginning to end. Any time I’ve had to insert or rearrange scenes, there are things that just don’t flow, don’t fit.
But I’m not talking writing. I’m talking REwriting. And the rules change. Detailed outlines take the place of fluid scene lists. The characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts have coalesced. I understand the core of the story (at least, if my critique buddies can help me unearth it!) There’s nothing left to do but write it.
And while I still can’t write it completely out of order, I now take the time to go back to earlier chapters to fix things that need to be brought into line. First draft? Make a note and keep going. Subsequent drafts? Make the fixes as the needs are discovered.
I won a 15-page crit from Ruth Logan Herne over at the Seekerville blog last week, and collected on it this week. Ruthy was thorough, encouraging…and pointed. A couple of things she said really clicked with me…sending me back to the very beginning and a brand new first chapter.
The fourth brand new first chapter this novel has seen.
I’m thinking this is the right scene. I’m thinking I’ve got the characters onto the page efficiently, entertainingly (is that a word? it is now!) and with voice. Sure, it still needs editing and tightening, but it’s definitely a huge improvement over versions one through three. I’m a happy camper, even though at the end of last week I was 38,000 words into the rewrite and this week I’m back to about 12,000. Still, it’ll go fairly quickly until I catch up to myself, and then all the scenes will require lining back up to that new outline.
Feeling good, though. Still hoping to be finished this pass by the end of August. If not, I should be pretty close.