Thursday, June 10, 2010

Silver Mask (or The Ongoing Saga of Revising a MS)

Eight-Nine years ago, I had it down. It was my first semester in college. I signed up for afternoon classes but got up at 7 am every morning. By 8 am I was at the Starbucks on 38th drinking coffee and outlining. Then I headed home and wrote until it was time to pack my bags and hop on the bus bound for Sacramento Community College. Arrelle was what I worked on back then. And the first draft of Traitor Born.

Arrelle, I edited, revised, rearranged until I decided to allow it collect dust on the shelf. Since then, I did start the story all over. Beginning to...well, I haven't found the end yet. The characters began to derail the story and again, it was relegated to the shelf. For now.

So onto Silver Mask. I didn't want to make the same mistake. I wrote it, and had a draft completed 6 years ago. Then I put it in front of a writers' group. They asked so many questions, didn't seem to like subtlety and claimed poetry was ill-suited to fantasy (a point on which I disagree), but I was still so young that it made me insecure. I rewrote the story. Beginning to end. Then I began to revise it. I put iot in front of another group. I revised more.

On the latest attempt to look at it I decided: "Too long." Traitor Born was then chopped into two-- Silver Mask and Traitor Born. That meant more writing. I felt at first that the story was too skeletal. But when I started hanging substance on the frame, it became too detailed (earlier post, why my WIP is Like My Closet???)

So actually, last night, I started a reboot. This time around, I'm trying a new method. I'm going to write the story from Kyr's POV, then Teshen's, then Gellayna's. I'll see if I can tell the story just through their eyes. The incorporation of previous writing I must keep to a minimum. That, like collecting dresses, is where I get into trouble. I have a hard time scrapping things I like. But just because I like them doesn't mean they are suited to what the story has become. My HS thrift store clothes doesn't match the styles I now enjoy.

The characters have changed through the many drafts, making the scenes and chapters clash. It destroys the cohesion of the MS, and I have to restart in order to keep continuity the story deserves. The changes are affected by my changing perspectives, knowledge and mental state. So after working on a MS for about 10 years, the story is much different than it was when it was first undertaken.

Another new technique I started a few months ago, is attempting short stories to flesh out more minor characters. I feel if I am more comfortable with everyone's "past" --not merely in my head, but also on the page--I can do all of the characters more justice. I will also have a firmer grasp of character in context of the world.

As it is, much of my world building has been objective. I've created a timeline and found my characters and plot-lines by pinpointing the individuals, geographic regions, and eras where historical shifts occur. Issue is that I wiggle between plot-driven and character driven as a result, and it's an uncomfortable movement. It needs to be both...and I'm working on that :D But that's for next week!



Post a Comment

Design by Wordpress Theme | Bloggerized by Free Blogger Templates | free samples without surveys