21 May 2010

Piecing it together

I will be the first to admit that I can be a bit scattered. Just one look around my house will tell you that .... um, wait, on second thought. Don't. The cleaning bug hasn't hit me in a while and our maid has been out sick.

Anyway, I can normally deal with my personal quirks except at this point, it's affecting my writing. You see, my mind bounces from scene to scene, and things rarely wind up in the order originally written.

Honestly, I do know most of the story from beginning to end before I sit down to type. However, like all pesky imaginary people, my characters tend to have minds -- and agendas -- all of their own. Sometimes I'm not told everything until it comes pouring out mid-scene.

"Your father was a what?!?!"

Ahem. You get the point.

So now that I'm nearing the end of the current story, I have to go back and double check: Is everything where it belongs?

Um, no. Of course not -- that would be way too easy and why should anything about this job be easy? :P

That's okay. That's what all the cut/copy/paste options are for, right? Yeah... I'm learning that editing with a track pad is a whole new challenge unto itself. (SIGH)

Now I'm at the re-plotting stage of my writing. I sit down and write... with an actual pen or pencil... what happens from start to finish. I may even include the timeline so I know how many days are passing for my characters. Just to make sure the pace is correct. Once I'm finished, I'll go through the document and tweak. Oh, and fill in a missing transition or two, as well.

For me, the whole process of crafting a story is much like making a quilt -- and yes, I have one of those in progress, too. When I quilt, I figure out my pattern first. That's my plot. Then I pick out the fabrics -- my characters, for instance. Now that I have a general idea where I'm going with it, I cut out the pieces; carefully pin them in place; adjust; sew them together; add the actual quilting stitches; and then bind it all together.

Like many quilts, it often takes the help of others to really polish it up. A beta reader to help point out glaring flaws; my editor to help rearrange a piece or two; a line-editor to make sure each stitch is in place. A quilting-bee of words. :)

But for now... I'm back to piecing. I think I almost have this one in place -- and that's the best part. Putting it all together in one whole, seamless story... wish me luck!


1 comment:

Jean Marie Ward said...

LOL Meg, this sounds so familiar! I'm not one of those writers who charts in advance, but it's always part of the revision process. Working with time is like trying to sew velvet. It slips and slides until you could wind up following yourself if you're not careful.