Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A lesson learned

Because I'm still waiting for the Family Computer Guru to help me transfer my files from my old computer to my new one, I had a little problem. Or rather, I have one. I can't print out whatever I'm working on, and revise it from there. So what I had to do was, turn on my old computer at the same time I had my new one on, and copy the old chapter exactly. I knoew I had to revise it, but I had no idea, until I actually copied the whole thing down, how much I've learned about the writing process since I started writing this Invaders trilogy! I'm still learning, but I think my writing has improved derasticly, and I have less trouble cutting out a lot of the fat, e.g. tightening chapters and concepts into something workable. I saw where I could chop out a lot of "ands" "buts", "he said/she said" stuff, to make it tighter and move more smoothly.

But there was another problem which I didn't have at the time I first started writing this. One of the characters, called Mat, was originally a rather minor one. And one character who was definitely secondary, didn't "jell" at all, so I cut m out in this, the second draft. Mat became so important that though he's a secondary charactefr in this set of books, he will have his own story whenever I get through with this one. That will be a prequel. So I will have to make some adjustments, because the revisions so far have found Mat(originally, one character went looking for him). This is important to the development of the story, as I've found out some intriguing and suggestive possible information about one of the historical characters that will probably alter parts of the 'story arc"(though not by much; it will all come out the same in the end)

The point is, unless the writer has an extremely clear idea of where the story is going, and how it's going to get there, and plots every chapter and scene in tremendous detail --- and there are writers who do this --- changes of one kind or another are inevitable. Even those writers who spend a lot of time "plotting out" their work(as mystery writers and some historical writers have to do), will find inevitable changes. It's startling, and sometimes disturbing to a writer, that this process almost inevitably happens , even if the writer has been writing for a long time.

On the other hand, all this means is, that creating a work is also a wondrous thing. You never really know what changes lie around the bend. I have a much clearer idea about some of my characters, major and minor, than I did before I started this. And I'm not sad about it, though sometimes the process itself is difficult. But it was a real "learning experience" to go through this and see exactly what I wrote. I would never have seen this, had I been able o simply print out the old chapter and then correct it.

Every writer should go through this experience.
Anne G

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