Friday, March 07, 2008

That Not-So-Easy "Easy" Book

It seems that while cold, gray days are more productive for me, it all goes out the window if there's snow. I've lived in places where we had snow all the time, but the moment flakes start falling, I become four years old again. I get hypnotized just watching it fall. We only got two inches yesterday, but most of that fell in about half an hour, so it was coming down pretty hard. I got very sidetracked by documenting the rate of fall with my camera from my office balcony (and one of my pics got posted on the local TV station web site -- so I guess I'm a published photographer now). I'd thought that getting snow this late in the year here was odd, but they said on the news at noon today that every two out of five years we get snowfall in March. Huh. Still, the fact that it was over 80 degrees on Saturday before we got snow on Monday and then again on Thursday was kind of odd. Now it's bright and sunny, and the only snow left is in shady spots up against walls.

When I did get to work, I eventually learned -- yet again! -- that there are times when it really is better and easier to rewrite than to revise. I spent most of the afternoon trying to fix some scenes that just weren't working. Then I figured out some things that needed to happen in those scenes to make them work, and I spent most of the evening trying to add those things to the scenes. And then I finally realized that those things would never fit well into the existing structure, that I just needed to write new scenes. That led to the realization that I'm pretty much going to have to rewrite the rest of the book from scratch. Trying to stick with the existing structure won't work. This is where all the subtle changes I've been making along the way really add up to require major changes. It's only a couple of chapters, so it's not a huge amount of material that needs to be scrapped, and I do think that writing will go a lot faster than staring at the screen and trying to figure out how to make changes.

It does seem like the "easy" book I dashed off in a few weeks last summer may end up killing me.

But first, I'm speaking at a writing group meeting in the morning, and I guess I'd better develop a speech, huh? I've got it in my head, but I need to organize it. I also need to go to the post office, but I'll wait until it gets a little warmer.


Carradee said...

Ooo, I know the feeling. I admittedly haven't been a hardcore writer for too long, but I originally didn't organize my ideas. At all.

The most obvious (and embarrassing) time this bit me was when I was happily plodding away on my parallel plot novel (that became really knotted) and wrote through this massive scene to realize I'd kidnapped the wrong character.


And I'm now (trying) to finish re(vis/writ)ing a story that originally was so focused on making the narrator believable despite her paranoia that everything else was pretty much sacrificed. Still trying to figure out the best way to organize my convoluted story ideas, but at least I'm actually putting some thought into that, now, before I sit down and start writing. (…Mostly.)

Re: Damsel Under Stress, something occurred to me when I read it that I wanted to make sure had occurred to you. Katie's leaving NYC doesn't seem very smart.

Why? The bad guys already know her and that Owen will sacrifice a lot for her. I doubt Mr. Bones cares about if she's in NYC or Texas; she's equally valuable either way. And she's leaving the best protection she could possibly have… why?

Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

Shanna Swendson said...

I never said Katie's decision was necessarily a SMART one. :-) It was an impulsive, emotional decision mostly based on the fact that she never wanted to have to see Owen in that predicament again. By breaking off from him and moving away, she hoped to convince the bad guys that she wouldn't make good leverage over him anymore.

You'll see in the next book just how well that worked out.

Carradee said...

Just making sure that was intentional! :-D

*thinks* Hey, but…

Naughty Merlin! Why do I suspect he has other reasons to want her in Texas? (Doesn't want his pretty signs in Times Square all blown up, maybe?)

(I'm assuming here that Merlin knew it was a poor decision on Katie's part that he nonetheless encouraged, so there's something else going on, there.)