John 2 – Going past the draft

Draft for John 2 is finished. Callooh, Callay!  Wait. Now what?

With John 1 this is the point where I turned the rough 100,000 word thing over to my editor. However, this time I am in a better place than last time.  I paid attention to what she told me. I worked to incorporate the points she made during the dissection of John 1 into the writing of this draft. This 117,852 rough thing is in better shape than John 1 was at this point so it is revision time.

I found I did not have a feeling for some important issues: Did it flow? Was it true to a timeline? Were all the characters accounted for (fleshed out or killed off)? I remembered a technique from reading Roz Morris’s Nail Your Novel that seemed like it would be a useful tool – the Beat Sheet. When I first read about the Beat Sheet I thought I would never be able to do such a thing.  I thought it would take me months, and I wouldn’t be able to read it when I was done anyway – wretched handwriting when going fast. But since I have found many of Roz’s insights useful, I thought I would, as Roz would say, have a go. Nope, did not use paper, pencils, markers, stickynotes, because I know me and I would just make a mess and then lose it.  Instead I decided to take the Beat Sheet concept and find a way to set something up in Scrivener – my writing organizing, storage, and saving program.

Ta Da – I went through all the chapters, answered questions like “What is the purpose of the chapter” and found that there was more to it than filling the space between the chapter before and after. Then the timeline! I now can see what day, date, month, and year of every chapter and event. If I am jumping a month I can let the reader know to pack their hiking boots.

I found a character that evaporated after being part of the conversation for a hundred pages — ooops, must have lost interest in that guy. Another character was fighting again while still laid up from another wound. And I found a character I had great hopes for that will either have to be taken out or fleshed out. I prefer that latter. Seasons? Who needs ’em. And then there are the parts that just don’t make sense because  someone obviously snuck in and changed what I wrote.

After I made all the notes and observations, I could compile it into a printout and NOW make notes with colored pencils, draw arrows and exclamation points and have the whole thing in a binder that has become a revision bible . . . no not a revisionist bible, that is another topic for another day, given Jefferson and all.

Now I am going to take a break from 1700s for a bit, write sci-fi short story(s), or some such, and then hit the revision.  I am still shooting for December 1 release date, but I might get caught in a quantum vortex and be off by a century or two….

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