Saturday, September 3, 2011

Those dastardly new plot points...

So there I was, innocently editing my lovely book, when I had a thought: what if *insert character* knew about all these shenanigans already? What if she kind of set them all in motion without the MC realizing? Holy COW, what a great idea…one that would lend an extra layer to the story. Cool right?

Hmmm. My brain flicked through scenes like a rolodex and I realized just how many scenes would need to be changed—some with big chunks, some with a throwaway line of dialogue. In all honesty, it could be worse, but I know that this will involve an extra week’s work—and that’s with no ‘real life’ getting in the way.

This has happened to me about four times during the writing of this book, and I’m convinced that each time it has made it stronger but… when does it stop? I wrote a post a little while ago (ahem, okay, more than a year ago) about editing, and knowing when to stop. It’s a tricky business.

How much have your book changed from inception to execution? Have you ever ‘finished’, only to find that *insert plot point/new character* would make it better? How do you deal with it? Have you ever just said "NO!" to that new idea? How many times has it happened during the writing of your book?



Linda G. said...

I'm a chronic tweaker -- I could just nit and pick forever if I let myself. Eventually, though, I get the "if I look at this manuscript one more time I'm going to throw up" stage. That's when I decide I'm done. *grin*

Holly L'Oiseau said...

I stinks to go back over and over, but if it adds depth then that's super awesome! It's very rare for me to do that. I'm a major plotter, though, so I usually think of those types of things while writing my outline. lol

Jeff King said...

I tend to think it doesn’t end… we just need to leave well enough alone: no I it make the story strong—go for it, we owe it to ourselves and our readers to make the best book we possibly can.
But, to revise just to revise is worthless. I sure hope you find the end someday… I am still waiting for the day I can sit back and smile: with the knowledge I did the absolute best I can with my manuscript. That day will be glorious!!!

I am a pantser… so my revisions are long and longer—but what do you do?

I wish you the best!

Chick Author said...

I'll finish editing a draft, thinking it's perfect, go back two weeks later and realize I can't write at all. So another edit--all things perfect--then a month later, same thing. Grr! Each draft gets better and better, but yes, when does it ever end?

And thanks to you, Ms S, after receiving your notes, I have a new ending to create. Ya know, no biggie... ;)

Frank Marcopolos said...

I believe it was Hemingway who said that a book is never finished, only due. I tend to agree. Sometimes, you have to know when good enough is good enough, as Seth Godin says.

Suze said...

Linda...Gosh I thought that was just me :) Although my throwing us, is usually the impulse to throw my PC across the room!

Holly...I'm glad to hear you're a plotter, I may come pick your brain for my next book. I am DONE with being a pantser :)

Jeff...How far are you away from your glorious day do you think? I used to love that free, pantser feeling, now... not so much!

Chick Author...Yeah, sorry about that! I have the same thing--sometimes I read my book and think I'm the funniest writer in the universe...then I honestly think I write like a 3rd grader. We need to coin a phrase for that syndrome!

Frank...I like that. And despite my feelings of horror, I still have a little sympathy with George Lucus tweaking his movies each time they come out! I'm not sure I'd be able to resist either :)