Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Out of Order Writing and Teenage Romance

Oh, my, Reader... my novel needs some serious editing!

I will note that I did, in fact, technically finish "editing" my novel; that is, I went through and marked things that needed to be changed. As I mentioned in my last entry, there are a good number of conventional errors, especially typos. But the biggest edits are yet to happen. Besides going through every page and making the small changes that need to be applied (which takes FOREVER), I also need to write some more to make my story a little more well-rounded.

See, I used to write in a very linear fashion, e.g. I would write the first scene first and then write in order. I have a weird "thing" about doing things the same way every time. But a few years ago, I sat writing (probably in math class... I do a crapload of writing during math class) and thinking, "I just want to write [scene] so badly!" and then I thought, "Why can't I?" And from that point on, if I wanted to write something, I wrote it. Sometimes it complicates things, as I develop my characters as I go along and things crop up here and there along the way. But it is much easier to go back and change a thought of two than it is to think, "What was that scene I wanted to write three months ago?"
There is one other complication that mars this otherwise agreeable method of writing: I sometimes forget to return to things I decide to skip. So as I waas reading through my novel on day one, I noticed that the dialogue jumped, quite abruptly. One minute, Ruthie and Annie were hearing these voices come out of nowhere and when I turned the page, they were on a first-name basis with the speaker.
After a moment of confusion, I realised that this was one part of the novel that I had been stuck on and decided to come back to. So this is one huge chunk that I need to write anew. I'm just thankful I found it before I got the inevitable "Is something missing here?" note from my outside editors.

Another huge problem I ran into was the relationship between Ruthie and another character, Walker. When I started the story, I never set out to put any romance in it, especially since it's pretty much a YA novel and it's not necessary to the storyline. But pretty close to the start of my novel, it became clear to me that Ruthie was going to develop a crush on Walker; I wrote their first kiss and it was just so cute that I had to put it in. And while I do hint at some forming of an attachment throughout the story (one spiteful character even says it straight out), I realised as soon as I reached the kiss moment that though it was still super cute, there wasn't enough to merit it. It shouldn't be too hard to add some little crush-y hints here and there; as I said, there are already a few, and there are some strong reasons why the two would form such a strong bond so quickly: Ruthie wakes up in an unfamiliar room and panics, only to be comforted by Walker. When she is tortured, she is taken care of by him, as well as her friend Nora, and he feels that her capture was his fault. They make an escape attempt together, which leads to another perilous situation from which they save each other. But unfortunately, I recognise the need to some other small moments that hint at a teenager-y romantic attachment on both sides.

This editing business is tough going... Anyone else going through this?

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