Saturday, January 22, 2011

Slogging Along at Stage Five

Let's pause for a moment of reflection. I started this process in the final days of December, when I assembled all of my reference material and began learning what I needed to build the proposal from 950 words to around twelve thousand words - novelette length.  That objective was easily surpassed so that the story now stands around twenty-six thousand words!  I am astounded by the ease with which it has been produced and attribute that facility to the methodology I have been following.

According to my earlier Ten Stages of Story Development blog post I am through the Stage 4 Arrangement business and finally starting Stage 5 Production.

This will be the tedious part; the parsing of sentences, the word-choosing, the subtle alterations of meaning or implication, the pesky decisions regarding em-dashes, semi-colons, commas, and other anal considerations.  This is where one looks at the work not as a whole but as discrete pieces related only to themselves. It is analogous to examining the Grand Canyon a rock at a time.

At the same time I must remain aware of the overall architecture - the placement of those rocks and where they fit in the overall scheme of things.  Because of the care taken earlier, the continual shifting around of this or that plot element, the sequencing of action and drama, and the development of the characters' through writing, I now know the material intimately and can immediately spot the wrong notes, the anomaly, or the misplaced line.  At this point I have no fear of getting something wrong.

This is also the slowest and least interesting part of the work. There's a little creativity remaining, but  mostly it's copy-editing pure and simple.  Occasionally I might be able to polish a rock into a jewel, but mostly it's simply chipping away the overlay of crap or moving it a fraction right or left.  This is going to take days!

I'm going to start work now so nothing to see here, folks.  Move along.  Move along.

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