Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tying up loose ends with handcuffs

Too funny. Thought that title might "drag" you in and hold you hostage. In truth though, I sometimes feel like I need handcuffs to wrap up all the lose ends and chain them firmly in place. Sheesh, you'd think by now it would be an easy matter but for a pantser, it's quite a process.

I don't plot. I have tried, but alas, my brain just doesn't work that way. So - to keep things straight, I try to write the outline after I've written each scene. That sorta keeps me straight on things. However - I often have epiphany moments where I write one sentence that's supposed to foreshadow something that will happen much later in the story. If I can remember that I've done this as I write, no worries, but often I don't. So - I read through and all of a sudden this lone sentence jumps out. It's a great sentence, a true masterpiece of prose, but have I carried the idea forward? No.

Ugh, so - that means I either delete a wonderful sentence with lots of promise or I fulfill the promise offered and add scenes or sometimes even whole chapters. Then I have to go through and check for inconsistencies. Here's where I would love to handcuff the idea so it doesn't meander without proper footing.

Editing is a neverending process and I'm not sure as writers we're ever truly satisfied with the finished product. But hopefully, I'll leave no loose ends to haunt the reader.


Heidi said...

I've never been able to plot. When I have tried the stories have come out slightly stilted and awkward, so now I just begin and see where the characters take me.

When it comes to removing passages in editing that I really like they don't get deleted. Instead I move them to a keep file and then they sit and serve either for an idea later on or find a place in another story.

As for the actual editing, I'm not great with things like that but thankfully my male muse is on hand and so he happily edits the work. Handcuffs would be great when it comes to catching all the loose ends, although sometimes I think a whip would help too.

Donica Covey said...

Editing sucks. There I've said it.

I agree with the starting at the beginning of a WIP and working forward. I have tried writing snips of later chapters and I get thrown so off kilter I'm not even in the hemisphere as my muse.

I had developed this system that seemed to work for me--for a short time anyway. Sentances would pop into my head and I'd write them down on the fron of an index card. I kep all these in a card that was lame huh? Anyway I'd pull out the cards and see what paragraphs the lines would bring to mind and then on the back of the card write out the scene. Then I'd assemble all the cards in a puzzle peice type of arrangement dropping in the cards where I thgouth they fit.

Like I sad this worked for a short time but I happen to be extremely anal. If I do not follow a set routine I get knocked down.

The card trick wasn't a benefit for me. So I disposed of the system and just wrote what the voices in my head told me too. I guess thats the best option for me as I've been quite prolific in my manusctipts.


Ciara Gold said...

WhooHoo! I'm in good company. Gotta love the pantser mind. One of my favorite authors is a pantser and I heard her speak on the subject and wow, it made me feel tons better about what I was doing. The author was Susan Elizabeth Phillips. And wow, can she write.