Monday, 8 March 2010

Tearing up the wip

Yesterday I copied my first three chapters of my wip and then attacked them with a machete.
Keeping an original safe gives me the freedom to try whatever I like and still be safe in the knowledge I have a fall back position.
So what did I do?
I took out the first three pages and allowed dialogue to be the first line. Then I took out the second and third scenes that made up Chapter One and consigned them to the "maybe" folder. At this stage, the words in the maybe folder may be re-used, or they may remain forever dumped. Who knows?

Next I copied the first scene of Chapter Two and added it to the end of first scene Chapter One. Now I have a first chapter that consists of two cracking scenes. (Crosses fingers here!)

Then I repeated the process today with Chapter Two, with slight variations but following the general theme of cut and add-in. Now I'm sneaking a look at Chapter Four and considering moving it up to the end Chapter Three.

This is not all. Now that I've almost got to the end of the storyline, I can spot plot footage where I need to shift and change, add in, take out and generally enhance my plot and characterisation. I find it heady stuff. It's almost as if the original writing isn't mine and I can usually see right away where something needs to be done.

That rejection certainly freed up something. If I'm honest, I regretted sending it off as early as I did, but I'm always impatient to get feedback. Yes, I know agents are not there to provide feedback unless perhaps you are their client, but in a way it is a kind of feedback. If they don't like it, then you go back to the drawing board. Or the keyboard.

I had an inkling of what I wanted to do already in mind while I was on holiday in Tunisia. It certainly made me impatient to get back to writing.
But talking of Tunisia, one of the amazing things about the country is vast amount of Roman Architecture that disappeared under the shifting sands of Africa. The four columns are part of a big site at Thuburbo Majus, discovered under the sand in 1875, and the temple is part of an even bigger site at Dougga, discovered 1894.

Amazing to think that Dougga sits at 600 metres above sea level, and the sand covered the whole of the building. It lies about seventy miles south west of Tunis, the modern city built around Carthage, and today four fifths of the site remains under grass, sustaining the best quality olive trees in Tunisia.


N. Gemini Sasson said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if writing was a tidy, step by step process? I find it's my beginnings that usually undergo the most deconstruction and reconstruction. Once I get that right, the rest is a piece of cake. Sounds like your WIP is starting to come together now, Jen. Best of luck with it!

Caroline Storer said...

Good to see the machete is alive and working! Caroline x

Jen Black said...

Almost came unstuck when I was left with a rather short third chapter - but I think I've got a plan for that....