Writing Update: Re-structuring

Progress:

In my last post I talked about the editing process and what I would be doing to improve my first draft.  Having done a good chunk of reading, collating feedback and re-writing over the last couple of days I thought I’d update you all on my progress. So far I’ve learned a few important things.

  • My Memory isn’t great and I should refer to my character’s info sheet to make sure that I am not accidentally changing their appearances.
  • I can never remember when to use a fullstop or comma in dialogue until I reach the editing phase. (My Dissertation tutor has been good enough to talk me through this in depth in the hopes I will do it correctly first time and not with the benefit of a red pen and hindsight.
  • That Re-strcuturing can be a god send for improving pacing, scene impact, characterisation etc…
  • Word counts suck.

While by no means exhuastive that list touches upon the majority of what I’ve been up to.

Re-structuring:

I thought to give me a break from editing, I’d talk a little about how I approach Re-structuring a scene and why I believe re-writing and re-structuring is the best way to do a first round of edits.  Take the scene I’ve just finished re-structuring; originally I had two chapters for Fjolin split by a chapter for Kite. This wasn’t ideal because in my orignial draft I had five chapters differening between 2500 words and 1500 words.  At the end of re-writing my first chapter to address feedback around pacing, characterisation and setting I had 3400 words. I have 10,000 words to work with total, 11,000 if you count the 10% allowance. Following this trend I wouldn’t get a second chapter with Fjolin, which would mean cutting considerable content.

To get around this issue I did wrote down what I considered the be the major events in both of Fjolins chapterss on a bullet point list. I then merged some of the points, removed others and played with the order in which they would happen resulting in this second list. To finish I cut and merged parts of the chapters I considered weak and re-arranged the events to form what I hope will be a much stronger introduction to Fjolin. I was surprised at how much larger the second list became as I was able to be more specific and list examples of what I wanted including. The finished product was a much stronger outline that I look forward to fleshing out fully later today.

It is for precisely this reason that I feel that re-writing is the best way to approach editing a first draft. So many of the problems that I encounter in my drafts, plot holes, inconsistent dialogue, indistinct setting, weak side characters, can’t be addressed properly if  I try to preserve anymore than the core components of the first draft. This change in my preference seems representative of the amount of time I have spent working on shorter projects for my MA and BA. If it wasn’t for word counts it would have taken me longer to learn the importance of tight outlining to ensure I got the most out of my projects.

So that’ll do it for now. I’ll be back with another writing update on a different topic for you soon. Sorry for the brevity of this one but it is five am and I have spent far too long writing this as it is!

Have great day all

Hugh

 

Author: Hugh Mccormick

My personal blog, expect some gaming news, book reviews, excerpts of my writing etc...

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