Friday, October 14, 2011

more mad science

Mad Science 21
So I’ve now been through the whole manuscript again. It’s getting closer. I’ve added more to it and clarified the narrative somewhat. Most importantly, I think I’ve given the characters more depth. Getting into each character a little more has caused me to see the relationships between some of the characters more clearly: Ash and Frank and Frank and his father, in particular.

When I’m in the draft I’m engaged by it and I’m always walking around thinking about it—at this stage I mean. It’s the nature of this place in the manuscript that there are many things that need to be worked out and worked through and, like most writers, I mull over ways to work through them.

BUT , also, there’s the struggle to make it more—more believable, more compelling, more interesting, more emotional etc… at this point. I’m looking for places where the interaction between characters in a scene isn’t quite right—that can be for a number of reasons. Wrong motivations maybe or I lose the momentum of a scene or I give into abstractions rather than finding the specific words that will reveal what the scene is about or a failure of language in some way.
This is why most writers rewrite so much. There are many, many things to be done in revision.
Mad Science 22
I think I might be at the place where I’ll print the manuscript up and take a look at it that way. It helps me look at it differently when I see it on the page so I think that’s the next step. Depending on how this goes, I might then go into my set-the-manuscript-aside for a few weeks mode. For the last few novels this has been the point where I try to get a few readers—my agent who is kind enough to read and give back comments and my wife for sure and maybe another person. Depending on the timing, I might try to get my critique group to look at part of it or all of it.

Just to be clear—I’ve had my agent for five or six years and I’m not trying to get an agent or I wouldn’t show it to one until I had the book in the best shape I could make it. But since I have a working relationship with my agent I find it’s helpful to get her feedback when I feel like I have a manuscript that’s in good shape but not ready to submit shape. She can give me some perspective and she’s willing to do it and it can be very helpful to have at a certain point when I’m heading into the homestretch with the manuscript.

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