Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Print-Out Phase

Yesterday, I reached the point in my Cinderella retelling where I print it out and go over it with a red pen. I am just a more effective editor on paper, and I print out all stories/novellas/novels at least twice during the editing process. You may think that this is a waste of paper, but there is NOTHING like seeing your work printed out. After all, the finished product will appear on paper (or e-ink, which is in many ways better than paper, for reading purposes). If you are not doing this, go ahead and try. I think you will be astonished at all the errors that sneak in. For this reason, I'd hate to ever see my blog printed.

The first time I print it is when I'm still trying to organize the story. This story is still a dreadful mess, and I just need to draw arrows all over it and generally have the freedom of a pen. I print it out a second time when I THINK I am done. Once again I use my red pen on it--hopefully making way fewer marks--and I read it aloud. Hearing the story also helps me hone the voice. Especially when trying to polish the rhythm of dialog.

I still have not finished the ending. My first stab will go in the garbage--I don't like it. I'm trying to refine a second ending, but I need to think of a devious plan for one of my antagonists, and I'm just having a hard time thinking of one. I'm hoping the exercise of reading it aloud will help spur a few ideas.

At this point, Before my sale, I would have set the whole story aside. But I've made an oral commitment to produce another fairy tale retelling, and I think they expect it within a year. And I'm finding that setting the entire story aside isn't really required. Instead, I can simply skip a scene and write the scene that I really want to write. And if I need something fresh, why what works better than a new plot twist? Both of these techniques spur on those scenes in the middle, which will hopefully result in a finished story.