Old World Solutions
I’ve gone into a bunker while I work on rewrites to Small Fish. It’s a vexing process that poses a complicated problem, the solution to which ended up being simpler than I’d imagined.
A novel can be seen, metaphorically, as a complex quilt. Hundreds of squares of fabric, each with their own unique pattern, sewn together in a particular order. Even the thread colors between squares will change, according to the colors in the squares. If you looked at the finished product and decided that this particular square down here belongs up there, why, you’d have a problem. Especially if the square you’re replacing didn’t go well in the hole created by the one you’re moving. There is a domino effect that touches, potentially, every square in the quilt.
In the original manuscript of Small Fish, Paul’s indictment doesn’t occur until page 262. Sage Agent and others suggest that he needs to get into trouble sooner. Ratchet things up sooner. I agree entirely. So now square #262 is square #67. And everything in between has to change – some drastically.
How to create order out of this chaos? Novel writing software? A spreadsheet? I looked at a dozen technology-based tools.
I settled on a package of 200 index cards, $2.37 at Walgreen. I went through the manuscript, made an index card for each event, noting the page number. Then I made index cards for the new events or changes to events that would result from the reordering of the story arc. And reshuffled the deck.
Now all I have to do is sew this blasted thing back together.
(Oh, and I am giddy about how it’s going to come out.)
Filed under: Uncategorized | 6 Comments