With so little free time, what could I write for a blog post this week? Flash fiction? Short story? As much as I love writing and sharing them, there’s no time. I am revising an earlier work. Finish a draft post? There’s one about where my stories fit in the romantic suspense genre. It’s so close to being done, but there’s no time. I am revising an earlier work. Write a post about my research into amnesia and real estate codes? It would be interesting I think, but there’s no time. I am revising an earlier work. Wait – there’s an idea! How about a series of posts as I go through revision for the first time?
Having not gone through revision before, I have no idea how long it will take for a four hundred page manuscript. Guess we’ll find out together. I got the manuscript back last Wednesday, and have spent the past week reviewing my editor’s extremely thorough, insightful, and appreciated notes. My particular issues are problems with tense, scarcity of transition scenes and a terribly complicated plot. The complications aren’t the bad thing – it’s that I’ve left too much interpretation for the reader. Also, I’ve surrounded nuggets of plot with too much extraneous stuff. To fix all of that, I’ve got to give the manuscript a thorough, technical cleanup; add lots of new stuff; and mine the good stuff out of the existing bad stuff and delete the remaining bad stuff. Piece of cake!??!!
Obviously, I’ve had to come up with a plan. I haven’t a clue whether it’s workable or not. If I can keep up these weekly postings, you’ll find out almost as soon as I do. While fixing the problems I’ve mentioned, I’ve also got to maintain structure and flow; and refrain from introducing any new problems. I was starting to feel overwhelmed by it all – until I thought of serigraphy (silk-screening). You know – the process of creating an image by layering one color of ink on an item, followed by the next color, then the next, etc. It occurred to me that I could use a similar process as my approach to revision. I’ll start with the first scene, getting it as perfect as I can. Then I’ll add the next scene, layering story into the first scene where necessary. I’ll repeat the process with each additional scene, layering story (as appropriate) in all the previous scenes. There are twenty chapters, with three to five scenes per chapter – plus the transition scenes I must add. That’s a lot of layering. But if I am successful, I’ll have “silk-screened” an homogenous story. I’d be very surprised if I’m the first author to approach revision in this manner. It’s just that using serigraphy as a mental image will help me to easily visualize my way back on track when I get stuck. This may just work! But first, so I don’t lose my way – #amoutlining.