Polishing prose takes time…

September 27, 2012

Well, I’ve been working hard at my remaining goals, including polishing one of my old Roswell fanfics, ‘Husk Funeral’, to get it posted up on the fanfiction.net website. Actually, I published the first chapter this evening, and I’m working on chapter 6 of 9 for the ‘polishing’ draft. But even though I’m fairly pleased with this story overall, my target to shoot for isn’t incredibly high, and I’ve already been a few times over these chapters to proofread and tweak them, I still find that really getting into it takes up so much time. I can work away at editing for an hour in the evening and find out that I’ve managed to finish two scenes perhaps – if I’m lucky.

Maybe my expectations for how quickly I should be able to do this kind of editing are just way out of whack, I dunno. I may not reach this goal, but I’m going to do the best I can, and I’m really pretty pleased with the progress I’m making, and this chance to return to my fanfic roots.

On a slightly off-topic note, I discovered that fanfiction.net now allows book cover images – but they have to be taller than they are wide, by a factor of 3:2, so that all the banners I made for Roswell Fanatics, (which are generally just a bit wider than tall, something like 10:11,) are no good. Sigh.

Reading aloud and adding extra pages.

May 8, 2011

Well, it’s late, and I’ve spent a lot of the evening reading my Script Frenzy screenplay aloud to myself, which is a really good way of doing editing I usually find – a lot of simple changes and alternate phrasings just seem to come to me when I’m reading my own words out. But it does take some time.

I wanted to get the script in good shape to print a full copy out and show it off at the writers’ circles this week, maybe even give it to somebody else to review for a few weeks before giving it back to me. There was a gentleman at the New Writing Workshop last time who seemed very interested and knowledgeable about screenwriting.

So I’ve finished editing the entire project, (very casually, but that’s okay for a first printing I think,) and sent it off to Staples. This is the first time I’ve used a print shop since getting my Brother laser printer on boxing day, because I really wanted to get the full professional treatment on this – double-sided pages, spiral binding, stiff cardboard covers, and the whole thing. So I guess I’ll be heading over to the Staples on Barton street after work tomorrow to pick it up.

Interestingly enough, Staples printing price structure gives you a noticeable price break at 100 pages – you’d pay nearly two dollars more to print only ninety-nine. And after making a few of my changes and deleting some extraneous dialog, I was down to ninety-nine pages. Looked around in the Celtx options for anything that would take up another page, and found the choice to add a few extra lines before each scene header. Good enough, back to one hundred pages.

Except I realized that the price was going up quite a lot when I picked the option to actually have the title page printed out on the cover, and then realized that was because it didn’t count the title page as one of the hundred anymore. I was down to ninety-nine, and Celtx doesn’t let you just type in blank lines at the end of the project and print them off.

I actually tried typing in a lot of lines with just a . after each, but that didn’t look too good, and I thought of something else.

Hard page breaks!

I inserted hard page breaks around my act breaks, and that got me back up. 101 pages out of Celtx, which goes down to 100 after the title page is diverted to the cover. Excellent stuff.

I’m off to sleep now.

National Novel Editing Month update, week 4

March 28, 2011

Total time logged so far: 46 hours, 2 minutes.

I’ve almost made it! Less than 4 hours to go in the last 3 weekdays. I can make that easily – even with Hamilton Writers’ meeting and the Script Frenzy kick-off party on my calendar. Hmm…

So here’s the headlines for my editing progress on days 22 through 28:

  • More proofreading and checking of ‘Roswell Calling’, up to starting chapter 6.
  • Finishing my serious changes notes of ‘The Long way Home.’
  • Fixing a dozen or so unresolved problems, (marked in bracket notes) on my 2009 Nanowrimo second draft “Won’t somebody think of the children.”
  • Formatting ‘The Landing’ to submit for critiques from critters.org
  • Critiquing the introductory chapter of a science fiction novel, ‘Briseus’, from critters.org
  • Spending a long time going back and forth between reading aloud from the opening few chapters of ‘The Long Way Home’ and making rewrites to them. In the process, I discovered that I want to change the background of one of my supporting characters, Ereyu the ferret, and I’m not entirely sure where to start with that.
  • Began working on unresolved bracket notes from a Roswell fanfic, “Runaway with me,’ and that led me into a plot audit of the later chapters to figure out where there are inconsistencies that need to be fixed and plot holes that need to be closed.

As usual, I’m rather all over the map, but I think that I’ve gotten some good stuff accomplished.

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Trying to tie up plot holes?

December 29, 2010

I’ve been working since October (but not during Nano,) to complete a basic first-pass edit of one of my Roswell fanfiction stories, ‘Runaway with me.’ It’s fairly basic stuff – some spelling and grammar checking, basic proofreading, changing phrasing here and there for better phrasing – and also just keeping track of places where the need for more in-depth changes seems glaringly obvious to me. In those spots, I tend to put a very terse note to myself in [square brackets] and just move on. For instance. [Review this for consistency with chapter 17 later.]

I’m noticing a lot of places where I’m needing to put in square brackets, partly because the story was one that I didn’t plan out too much beyond a vague notion of where I wanted some of the plot beats to be going, (Organic Linear Plotting, they call that,) and maybe because it was one of the projects that I would work on for a little and then leave alone for weeks or months at a time.

Among some of the issues that I remember flagging are:

– I’ve included references to later aspects of the mythology of the tv show, such as the Granilith, dream archetypes, and even the Destiny book, that are almost entirely contradicted by the ending that I ended up tagging onto the story.

– Since I couldn’t figure out a good ending to a chase scene at a time, I ended up skipping ahead, describing the aftermath as Max and Liz return to Roswell, and have them figuring out what happened bit by bit, piecing clues together. Unfortunately, not all of the clues mesh perfectly, and there’s at least one place where a particular character, who would know the entire story, keeps procrastinating on filling in the blanks for the other characters, until I forgot that she knows things that she still hasn’t told them, and doesn’t mention it again.

– Somebody spills a drink, and the fact that the broken glass appears unbroken later on is a plot clue – but I described the original spill without mentioning the glass getting broken.

– For some reason, when describing a characters homework, I appear to have made up a poet named Willis Chesterley. Not a horrible thing, but I’d like to find a real poet that fits the reference I think.

– The fact that one character has had her appearance shifted to resemble somebody else, and I think that I have the same characters suspecting this two or three different times without any mention that it’s a thought that’s occurred to them before.

It’s a story that I do really like parts of, but hopefully I’ll be able to figure out a way to sort out a few of the small issues like these without causing other problems or being forced to cut out the parts that I like.

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