Monday 7 August 2023

My WIP – a long slog


So, I’ve just finished the first draft of my work in progress Finding the Butterflies. This is the sixth book in my Peace Child series and has possibly been the hardest to write.

When I created the first book I spent a log time before I started writing creating my world. I thought about how in this futuristic world people would educate, what they would do there for recreation and how they would produce, prepare and consume food.  I thought about how they would look after the elderly, what sort of work they would do and how they would dress. What were their values? How did medicine work? What was the relationship between people from different planets?  All of this preparation seemed to pay off.

I tried for this sixth book to replicate that effort. I spent a lot of time thinking about my characters and what they needed to achieve.

I am a planner and I did plan this book. However, my plan was never very clear, and I have really gone a lot off-piste with this one. I’ve tried to be a bit of a panster but it hasn’t really worked.

Well at last I’ve beaten it into some sort of shape.

I’m aware already that I need to build up the sections on an artificial intelligence creature. I need to work more on one character. I need to add some more drama in the climax.

I’m into the second draft now and I’m also aware of some rather dull writing and a title that has not been consistent. Still, other edits will take care of that anyway.

A trick I leaned some time ago was to start each edit at a different point in the book. So I’ve made myself a plan working thought the stages of revision. Here it is:

1.      Is the overall structure sound?  - hook, inciting incident, increasing complexities, crisis, climax – Chapter 1

2.      Is the resolution satisfying? Chapter 4   

3.      Overall time scale Chapter 7

4.      Check format and length against target market / reader Chapter 10

5.      Characters. Are they consistent? Do they develop? Do you know everything about them that you should?  Chapter 13

6.      Is it convincing? Is there cause and effect? Chapter 16

7.      Is there conflict and tension? Are there peaks and troughs? Chapter 19

8.      Does the pace vary? Chapter 21

9.      Dialogue Chapter 24

1.      It should not be too natural

2.      It should only say important things

3.      It should differentiate characters' voices

4.      When angry, becomes childish

5.      Should take 2/3 of popular book

6.      Should convey mood, character and reaction

7.      Every speech should give information

10.  Detail and description should be slipped in small chunks. Chapter 27

11.  Point of View – is it consistent and if it “zooms” does it do so in a reasonable way?  Chapter 30

12.  Show, don’t tell. Chapter 33

13.  Kill off your darlings. Chapter 36

14.  Get rid of clichés Chapter 39

15.  Overall flow (read out loud) Chapter 42

16.  Copy edit Chapter 45

 You can see in this list where I intend to start each edit.   

And in my head I’m now planning book seven of the Schellberg cycle and also giving a little thought to book seven in this series. Neither of these two books have titles yet.         

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