Since June, once I knew the results of the Delacorte contest, I’ve been working to revise Neutral Zone. Some of this work is pretty straight forward since it’s about restoring scenes I removed to make the competition length requirements. The rest hasn’t been so cut and dried. I’ve been adding in more scenic elements becuase Will has pointed out that my characters tend to exist in a black box. I see the scenery in my head, I just don’t point it on the page. I’ve also been taking care of story problems as I find them. I’ve never been sure though if I’m helping, hurting or even not changing its chances at getting sold.
Frankly, I find it hard to revise since I see everything in my head so clearly with this story…including things that aren’t on the paper.
I think Will found a solution to this problem. A while ago he took an online course written by Holly Lisle called How to Think Sideways, a course on writing that he enjoyed and felt he learned from. Lisle just introduced a new course called, appropriately, How to Revise Your Novel. I read the synopsis of the 22 week course and decided it sounded like the perfect thing to give me guidance on how to make Neutral Zone (and anything else I write) the best it can be.
I started the course this week. The goal for this first week is to go through your book and give a really subjective look at the character, story, setting and any place that your plot loses your attention. You also have to highlight the parts that you love since those are important too. I’m working my way through the 247 pages of the novel, which is now in a binder so I can make notations where there are issues. Luckily Lisle breaks this process down very well in the course materials so I really understand the objective I’m trying to achieve. It’s been quite eye opening so far and I can already see a path to a better book. If only I had the time to get that all done in week 1…at least she says it’s not a requirement to complete the week’s lesson in seven days.
I’ll write about the course periodically as the revision journey continues. My hope is to finish the course by mid 2010 and move on to finding an agent/publisher who wants it. If only it was as easy to make that happen as it is to write it here.
In other news:
- A couple ideas started buzzing around my head: 1) A sci-fi story that involves a rescue mission of some sort. 2) A story set at a So You Think You Can Dance style show. Random pieces for both stories are getting written down and I hope to get drafts written soon.
- It’s been fun to watch the download counts on Rivals. After it’s first day it was #5 on the Nap-Size Dreams best seller list and since then it has been parked solidly at #4. If I’m reading right it looks like over 80 downloads have happened. Sure, it sounds like a small number, but I think it rocks that people are reading my story!
- Nerdvana may finally be out. Amazon is no longer listing it on pre-order, back on backorder. I’m not sure what’s going on there. Hopefully I’ll be able to take it off the “coming soon” list by the end of the year.
- I also have to say that I finished a wonderful book this weekend. Admit One by Jenna Jenna Hilary Sinclair, another Dreamspinner Press author. It’s one of my favorite books of the year. You can read my review of it over at jeffandwill.com