I normally write on the computer and do most of my revisions on the computer. But every so often in the process I decide I need a hard copy to read and write on. During our trip to Austin last month, you may remember, Dear Reader, I had some thoughts for further changes. I made those changes in the computer and then printed out a hard copy and read it through. Then something else took my attention – short stories, more on that later – and I took a three-week break from Kwizera. Last week I read through it again and wrote down more details in certain places, and moved some things around.
Here is what some of the pages look like now:
On the page on the left I decided that a certain plot event happens too soon and that we haven’t seen for ourselves certain character traits mentioned elsewhere. So I decided to add a new scene and made notes about what should happen in that scene. The big line shows where I decided to insert the new scene. In the right corner I circled the number of the page where I think some details can be taken from and put in this new scene.
Here is a close-up of the two pages from the right of the image above:
On the left are my attempts to make the words flow better and for the dialogue to sound less stilted (a criticism I received from an awesome editor at a major publishing house last fall). I normally am very good at dialogue (unlike description), but the stilting results from me trying to make the dialogue sound like I remember my African colleagues speaking. However, these characters are rarely speaking English.
On the right is a page of mostly backstory. If you are a writer, you understand why that page is so marked up. Backstory is the bane of the novelist. It’s necessary, but it tends to bog down the narrative, especially if it happens too soon in the story. So here you can see that big chunks are being taken out (those curlicue marks). I have found better ways to convey the information I’m taking out – like in action and dialogue.
All that remains now is for me to convert all the handwritten notes likes these onto the computer – a rather slow and tedious process, unfortunately. That is taking me longer than I thought it would, partially because I’m still working on short stories (but also the tedium is a reason I’m still working on short stories).
Once those notes are converted, I will have a brand spanking new draft of Kwizera to pass around to my beta readers. Phew!
So there is a peek into my process. What do you do that’s similar or different? If you aren’t a writer, did you learn something about me or writing that you’d like to share? To the comments with you!