Incoherence To Clarity: Cutting The Fluff

It all started innocently enough when Pot hopped online yesterday and said “I had some thoughts about why you’re having trouble with Revelation while I was in the shower.”  No doubt she regretted the time suck that innocent comment produced.

See, Revelation was originally supposed to be a novella.  I had the whole thing planned out, and it was a good action-packed follow-up to Forsaken By Shadow in which my archivist heroine needed to befriend the assassin/enforcer who’s been assigned to keep her away from the big summit where all the races are converging to discuss a coming threat, in order to divulge a prophecy that says the apocalypse is coming.  Except my characters never really gelled for me.  There could be a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which that I simply didn’t have the brain time to get to know them and allow them to grow due to the massive life disruption that has been hubby’s leg break (still ongoing).  Regardless, I wound up changing heroes, then changing the heroine’s name (because Finn sounded lame with Orrin), and then her personality changed, and the plot morphed from an action story into one more suited to the mystery and intrigue on which I cut my reading teeth.  And in the end the only real similarity between version 1 and version 2 was that my heroine was an archivist who discovered signs that pointed to the beginning of the apocalypse.

When I mentioned that I felt like I needed some more work on my outline because I was still struggling with some stuff, we sat down to look at it and see what the deal was.  She made me follow through all the plot threads, which was no doubt a frustrating exercise since she was really functioning as my brain yesterday because I was a total waste of oxygen.  She’d ask a question and then instead of being able to give a straight answer I’d start spewing about how that one thing impacted all this other stuff.  I think she was ready to choke me.

Anyway, after several hours and much prodding we finally traced all the assorted plotlines, nailed down the goals, main points of story structure, filled in some holes, and wound up with a book that is a very good blend of what my original concept was and what the second version wound up being.  It’s now a good mix of intrigue AND action (which was severely lacking in the second version).  It’s also about 20k shorter.  It even has a theme.  Which apparently it did before, but I didn’t see, and as soon as Pot pointed it out, it looked like I’d done it on purpose.  She has mad skills with identifying theme.  Interestingly enough I didn’t lose ANYTHING I’ve written (thank GOD) and a whole lot of what I had is still there…it’s just that now I know WHY it’s there and how it connects to other stuff.

So, Pot, I bow down to your awesome, and thank you from the bottom of my metaphoric ink well.

One thought on “Incoherence To Clarity: Cutting The Fluff

  1. It seems I lost my reply…
    I think it’s probably testament to my frustration that day that I actually said SERENITY NOW!! to you and about you–which is about as openly confrontational as I ever get. That 6 hour tooth-pulling session ought to teach me to keep my shower-time musings to myself.

    Haha, not really. It’s all good, and hopefully will lead to less wheel-spinning. I think the knowing why has been part of the problem. It seemed like you knew what those scenes were for when you first built the outline, but then as you started to flesh it out, you were already forgetting what all needed including. I blame the leg-break. A whole novel is a hard enough thing to try to keep in your head all at once without all this other stuff going on.

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