Book report, week 2: cowboys and corrections

Surprisingly, I’ve had quite a productive week despite not being able to get that many man hours in. The main thing I’ve been focussed on is seeing where there are gaps in the story as I go through it. This has been easier than I expected, possibly because I have a bit more clarity than the last time I had my face pressed up against these pages.

I’ve taken a multi-pronged approach, tackling the following:

Rereading. I need to wade through everything to get the details under my skin again. You wouldn’t believe how bad my memory is, and it’s also beneficial for the above reason, identifying where more is needed (or indeed less).

Taking in corrections. I know this is the kind of thing they say to leave until the first draft is finished, but as a former editor/sub-editor I can’t live with knowing there are lots of red (and blue) marks on the printout needing to be addressed. So I’ve incorporated it into my read through, trying not to get too bogged down.

Chapter summaries. I had already started doing this last time around with the WIP, but I’m finding it very useful to briefly recap what has happened in each chapter as I finish working on it. I have three narrators, so three different strands run through this. Recapping is helping me to see the scenes that need working on, and in some cases need to be written from scratch. This story originally had two POVs, with alternate chapters set in alternate weeks. But I felt that neither of the characters was articulate in themselves, so I’ve introduced a third who is the connection between them. Hers are the chapters that need addressing and I have to figure out where to slot them in.

Changing tenses! I started writing this book in the 3rd person, past tense, then played around with changing it to 1st person, which is where I usually feel most comfortable. But then I changed it back to close 3rd person present. I’m updating this as I go along too, as my former life demands it. Wrong tenses make me… tense.

Research. Classic films feature prominently in this book so I’ve started rewatching them, having written them in initially from memory. I need to see them again to seek out places where I can weave them further into the story. This week it was Easter Parade and The Magnificent Seven. What a hardship! Incientally, I have to say how sharp the dialogue in the latter is, particularly. It surprised me on revisiting it.

Weekly stats

My word count is 76,888 words, 262 pages. Not a huge increase since last week, BUT I have hacked away some deadwood so I feel reasonably happy. And I have managed to write a very difficult scene that I shied away from before. It’s good to have something to work with now, no matter how raw.

“What’s she on about?” Read week 1 of my book report here or carry on to week 3 here

6 thoughts on “Book report, week 2: cowboys and corrections

  1. This is great news, Anne! I had a completely dead week–was sick and busy with work. However, this weekend was very productive. I used a scene sheet I had created two weeks ago, some writers like to use index cards but that’s just too crammed for me, borrowing from several places. It’s similar to your chapter summaries.

    Most of the scene sheet is based on the Story Genius Method by Lisa Cron (from her book Wired for Story). I didn’t want to buy yet another book on how-to so I gleaned whatever was available for free. Here is a sample: https://inkandgraceediting.com/blog/2018/10/10/how-to-use-the-story-genius-scene-card

    It’s helped me tremendously to figure out plot holes, momentum, and held me accountable to why every scene matters or it’s out.

    Now, if I can only get myself to blogging again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that great tip, Annie. I’m definitely going to look into the scene sheet thing as I’m not familiar with that. I would love it if you’d care to share your weekly update in the comments section – it’s great to see other people’s progress. And that goes for everyone reading this, the more the merrier! #Writealong

      Liked by 1 person

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