Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Novel's Journey: Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite

Discovery is going far more slowly than I'd anticipated. There's something daunting about taking a two-year-old manuscript and re-writing it. On the one hand, you'd think it'd be easy, since I'm 55,000 words ahead and have the plot all lined out. However, the rehashing of scenes, the decision to keep this, scrap that, move the other is more mentally taxing than just sitting and writing afresh. Must be because I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer and not a big outliner. (LOL--I wrote "poutliner" at first--you can see my mindset.)

At any rate, with all the cutting, I've probably written 10,000 words and only have 3,000 to show for it. That's OK--they're better words. Right now, I'm re-writing a scene for the second time. It's a rather comic scene, where I illustrate some of the problems Sisters Thomas, Rita and Ann will have to deal with as far as the attitudes of the research team and the asteroid miners. The first time, I had a walk-and-talk as Andy tells them the problems. This time, I have Sister Rita have to deal with them--miners grumbling about cleaning up the messes the researchers are leaving, researchers pouting about having to keep the place so hyper-neat, researchers scattered all over the ship as they pick whatever room they feel like, and one adventurous professor who thinks handling a exoskeleton should be easy. That scene is fun--in the first write, I just mentioned that he pulled his shoulder trying to use the mechsuit. This time, I have him losing his balance, falling on his back like a turtle and putting dents in the walls as he struggles to get up, calling the whole time, "I'm OK! I can do this! I--ow!"

Second writing was from Kris David's POV. Kris is a grad student at Luna Technological Institue (yes, he's a LunaTech). He discovered the alien ship that they're going to explore. His supervisor is the leader, and a bit of a pompous jerk, so Kris is going to get slowly pushed into a leadership role. This is his first "push." I did it as a flashback, but that didn't work, so I did it again as he experienced it. However, that's not working out--there's too much him reacting to what Sister Rita does. So, I'm going to re-write it with Sister Rita in the limelight and have her observing him floundering. Then at the end, I may have his overall reaction when Andy comes over to talk to him.

In the meantime, I have my Christmas story up on the DragonEye, PI website. "Christmas Spirits: From the Case Files of DragonEye, PI" is available for download for $1.50.

Fave Phrase: Since I'm re-writing the mech suit scene, here's Sister Rita's, Sister Ann's and Sister Thomas' first view of the Edwina Thomas, the interplanetary cruise ship ColeCorp bought to carry the research team to the alien ship:

The Edwina Thomas, so named for the actress who starred in a successful series of holographic games called Lola Quintain and the Star of Vengeance, was a bullet-shaped behemoth with a shiny metallic finish and red piping along the three fins that flared over the "bottom" third of the ship.

"It's almost as big as the convent," Rita whispered, then laughed. "I can't get over the stabilizer fins, though! 'Pre-millennial motif,' indeed!"

"It gets better--look!" Tommie focused the forward screens on the stories-high painting splashed over the nose cone: A buxom woman with skin the color of expensive coffee dressed in a hardshell spacesuit posing in front of the words Edwina Thomas.
"Well, that's certainly..." She tried to think of an appropriate word and ended up snorting through her nose and falling into giggles.

"And this is what ColeCorp bought to explore an alien ship?" Tommie asked. She tried--and failed--to sound stern.

"I guess the secret's safe!" Rita managed to gasp out. The magnitude of their mission and the lack of sleep from the preparation had left her feeling punchy. She'd taken a nap, but it had been short and full of weird dreams she only half-remembered. At least the only time she had thought of James was when she prayed, and then only to notice that she hadn't thought of him. Still, laughter brought welcome release.

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